Take me home, El Capitan!

"Gather 'round, lads.... gather 'round"...
Burt Lancaster / The Crimson Pirate (1952)

Around every other month, when I deem you are worthy, we post our cheesy newsletter to inform the masses as to what's happening in the BMW world and of course... Pirates' Lair. How else are you going to find out?

Warning: While I do try to add a little humor in every newsletter, some of my language may offend the mild mannered, politically correct, or meek amongst us. If you are offended easily I suggest you stop reading here and look elsewhere for your written info-tainment.

FYI.. If you'd like to be notified when each new newsletter is posted, just email me with your request and I'll make that happen. Our email database is 100% secure. Stored in a lock box formerly owned by Al Gore. Never shared or sold to third parties. Never perused by the NSA. Your name and email address will be safe with us into infinity and beyond.

Bad Santa

The Latest Cheesy Pirates' Lair Newsletter: November / December 2018 .. Happy Holidays!!

Fellow esteemed and quasi-esteemed motorcyclists.... ..A famous (and slightly edited ) movie moment to start the month.....

As various members of the family bring out a punch bowl and glasses, Janie sits down at the piano and strikes a chord. She starts playing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and the entire crowd joins in the singing. Some people are still coming in and dropping their money on the table. Carter, the bank examiner, makes a donation; the sheriff sheepishly looks at George and tears his warrant in small pieces. Just then, Harry, in Naval uniform, enters, accompanied by Bert, the cop.

Harry: Hello, George, how are you?
George: Harry . . . Harry . . . !!
Harry: (as he sees the money) Mary –––– looks like I got here too late.
Bert: Mary, I got him here from the airport as quickly as I could. The fool flew all the way up here in a blizzard.
Mrs Bailey: Harry, how about your banquet in New York?
Harry: Oh, I left right in the middle of it as soon as I got Mary's telegram. Ernie hands Harry a glass of wine.
Harry: Good idea, Ernie. A toast . . . to my big brother, George. The richest man in town! Once more the crowd breaks into cheering and applause. Janie at the piano and Bert on his accordion start playing "Auld Lang syne," and everyone joins in.
George, still holding Zuzu in his arms, glances down at the pile of money on the table. His eye catches something on top of the pile, and he reaches down for it. It is Clarence's copy of the Cheesy Pirates' Lair Newsletter.
George opens it and finds an inscription written in it "Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has a BMW and friends. Thanks for the wings, Love Clarence."
Mary: (looking at the newsletter) What's that?
George: That's a cheesy Christmas present from a very dear friend of mine.

George Bailey / James Stewart Mary / Donna Reed / It's a Wonderful Life ... 1946

News and Feltercarb From The Two-Wheeled No-Spin Zone...!!

Picture Of The Month! Arizona On Hwy 273 (Click Image for a Larger View)

Every month customers send us killer photos and I see no reason to keep them to myself so what better way to say thanks for sharing than to post them in our Picture of the Month spot..

Our November / December POTM was contributed by my good friend, Charles Wickliffe . He says of the shot.." The photo was taken on Arizona Hwy. 273, between Show Low and Alpine, Saturday 9/15, early afternoon, partly cloudy, temperature around 70F, elevation 9100', taken with Samsung Galaxy 8 phone. The ride was over rolling hills through forests and meadows... I love this place! "

If you would like to contribute your own"worthy" shot for our newsletter, here's what I'll need. First.. just email me 1 or 2 of your best digital shots. It'll need to be at least 1024x768 in size or larger and preferably A. Of a late model BMW and B. In focus. C. No GS's for Gods sake.

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2018 I-BMW Deals Gap Rally: Weather Be Damned.. (Promoted by www.I-BMW.com )

This years annual I-BMW Deals Gap Rally (our 19th) was held in Maggie Valley, NC.. an all new location quite a ways from Deals Gap proper, yet most didn't let that technicality or the fact that yet another hurricane was aimed right at the event spoil the fun. Every weather station in the country predicted that the fast approaching category 4 Hurricane Florence would strike down upon us with great vengeance and furious anger anyone who would attempt to ride or gather in the state. Did our group of aging misfits let that spoil the fun? F%@k no.

While most normal people were boarding up their windows and cleaning out the shelves of their local supermarket in preparation for the predicted "end of days" storm..... I-BMW members proved we don't bow to no stinkin' hurricane.. Of course, a few cancelled at the last minute, but I'd guess there were at least 20 who made the pilgrimage in spite of the ominous predictions. As it turned out... the storm stalled when it hit the coast which gave attendees the few days needed to complete the mission. We had near perfect weather.. How's that for good karma?

I've posted all the 2018 rally pics I could pilfer from I-BMW in the Pirates Lair Photo Gallery. Look for the album cleverly titled.... DGR19-2018. Hope to see most of you there next year for our 20th anniversary event.

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Me, My Dad, and Johnny: A Tale of Two Heroes

The father of my youth was a tough, emotionally lean man. In the 17 years that I lived with my parents, I never saw him dance with my mother.. hug her.. kiss her, or even hold her hand. Not once. My sister and I fared a little better. I was told that he wasn't like that before he went off to fight in WW2. He came back changed. The army took a few years of his life and gave him back a chest full of medals and a scarred psyche from seeing things that shouldn't be seen and doing things that I can not imagine. For reasons only known to himself and his God, instead of displaying his medals for all to see, he kept them in a shoe box high in the closet as if they held little importance in the post-war chapter of his life. He didn't need to talk about them. He expected no accolades. He had just done what needed to be done. I guess that's what real heroes do.

It's been 31 years since he passed and I still miss him every single day.. In fact, for some reason I find myself missing him more the older I get. Sadly I only have a handful of pictures of us together. Perhaps as I approach the age that he died (63).. I have a clearer understanding of the man, what he must have went through in the war, and the pressures of supporting a family of four. Just last week I found myself in tears at the thought that I'll never see him again in this life or hear his voice. I wonder if he'd be proud of me. The fact that this ever-present melancholy is probably common to anyone who has lost a father offers little respite.

He was raised old school.. Taught that the man worked.. the wife raised the kids. Period. That's how his father was raised and his father before him. That being said.. while I know my father loved me, I have few memories of father/son activities. I do remember him taking me fishing a few times.. Having a catch now and then.. Him teaching me how to make home-made ice-cream in one of those hand crank machines that was required of every household in the 60s. And of course, the few times he took me for rides on his motorcycle changed me forever. I now wish I had thanked him for the effort he put into fatherhood... and the memories. My guess is.. a simple "thank you" would have meant a lot to him. Just another regret I have to live with. We all have to live with.

There is one memory with my father that stands out above the rest that I'd like to share. I treasure this one........... Read more...

My dad... WW2

What Men Really Want for Christmas: Pirates Lair Gift Cards, Tees, and BJs!

Through the years we've gotten more requests for gift cards than anything else except perhaps naked pictures of Amber. Who are we to deny the masses? This holiday season we are again offering Pirates Lair Gift Cards in a number of denominations to fit your congressionally pummeled budget. From $25 to $300! Our standard sized plastic gift card is sleek, stylish, and professionally made. Whip it out (the card, that is) and you will garner respect and admiration from not only your peers, but also the less fortunate around you.

Like buying underwear or choosing a hooker, buying motorcycle accessories is a very personal thing. Simply guessing what your favorite rider actually needs/wants/desires for his ride is a hit or miss proposition. Rather than putting yourself in the embarrassing situation of getting the wrong thing or worse.. something that he or she hates and has to return... you can't go wrong with one of our waaaay cool Pirates Lair Plundering tees or Pirates Lair Gift Cards. Ladies.. these are perfect for the holidays, birthdays, weddings, promotions, or just a way of saying.. "Sorry honey..but I didn't realize that the old guitar I sold at last month's yard sale for $40 was a 1965 Fender Stratocaster personally autographed by Jimi Hendrix." Remember.. nothing says.. "I love you" or "I'm sorry" to a man like shiny plastic or I suppose.. an unexpected BJ.. One that doesn't involve begging, cash, or undercover police officers.

Included with every Pirates Lair Gift Card is a single-fold, greeting card style gift card holder with a folded/glued pocket inside for easy gift card insertion and removal. And that's not all! We also include a small matching envelope. Folded size: 4 3/4" x 3 3/8" Actual cost of each card is $5 to cover cost of card, holder, envelope package, and insured shipping inside the US. For instance.. a $25 gift card will cost $30 to your door. Saavy? Foreign orders are welcome. Happy Holidays!

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Year End Reflections - Deep Thoughts and Follow-Ups 2018

As we all know.. opinions can and do change after we've spent some time with something. Sometimes for the better.. sometimes for the worse. Wife # 3 comes to mind, but I digress. Thought I'd wrap up the year's last cheesy newsletter with some follow-up thoughts on a recent review..

Michelin Power RS: A New Generation in Tires July / August 2017 In our July 2017 newsletter I wrote glowingly of my initial impressions of the then new Michelin Power RS tires stating.. "With the risk of resorting to hyperbole.. this tire, IMHO is an industry game changer."

Now after a year of diligent testing under both legal and quasi-legal conditions, my opinion has changed somewhat. I've discovered a chink in the Pilot RS' armour. I've noticed multiple times that on certain type of pavment.. usually on a road with a high crown, my bike isn't tracking perfectly as if the air in the front or rear tires are low. It's always when I'm going in a straight line. When I stop and check tire pressure, it's perfect. Changing air-pressures doesn't seem to make any difference. Changing pavement does which makes me conclude that it's not a bad tire. It's a by-product of Michelin's Adaptive Casing Technology (see explanation in my original review.) A rare anomaly that the French testers missed or ignored as insignificant.

While the grip at full lean is exemplary.. faultless.. the absolute best I've ever seen without tire-warmers... the occasional straight line bad-tracking issue bothers the shit out of me. I'll also admit that I'm borderline OCD so there's that. I can't seem to find an air-pressure that makes the problem go away completely. The Pilot Power 3s did NOT have this problem.. Those tires were "almost" as good in the curves as the Power RS and always tracked perfectly in a straight line.

Ginger? or MaryAnn?

Rather than simply whining about it in this most holy of newsletters or to friends or on the various chat sites, I contacted a Michelin representative. As I expected, he mostly blew me off suggesting my tire pressures were off. I informed him that I've been riding for almost 50 years with over half a million street miles under my belt on almost every brand motorcycle made, shod with almost every brand tire ever manufactured including multiple sets of Michelins. "This ain't my first rodeo, mofo.." I mentioned I'd spent the last 6 months experimenting with various tire pressures and the rare tracking problem is still there on certain road surfaces. Never once did he suggest that maybe I had a bad tire, which leads me to believe they have heard of the problem before. I'm not the first.

That being said.. I've experienced the phenomenon 4 times over the last year. It lasts only minutes and then goes away as the road surface changes so yes.. it's rare. The other 99% of the time the tires are exemplary.. Would I buy another set of the new Power RS? As of this writing.. Probably.. My guess is... the French tire makers know there's an issue and A. They'll never admit it and B. they'll correct it at some point. I wonder if they learned that from BMW?

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The Pirates Lair Database.. Lost In Space - "Oh, the pain, the pain."

Anyone who knows me can tell you I'm NOT a technology guy. I don't own, nor do I want a smart phone. My 10 year old flip-phone with 2" screen works just fine. I use it to talk and occasionally listen. That fulfills my needs. I still have a TV that's as thick as it is wide. The operating system on my 12 year old computer is Vista Home. I could go on.. Last week my reluctance to move into the 21st century caught up with me.

I've been using the same email program since I started this business 20 years ago.. Eudora 7 Pro. To this day I've never seen another email program with the same features or as easy to use. The company that produced it (Qualcomm) stopped offering it in 2006 so I've been without customer support for over a decade which is fine. It was problem-free until October 2, 2018 at 9:07 am.. That's when my beloved Eudora had a meltdown that made Chernobyl look like a garden party.

Somehow, someway that morning I woke up to a corrupted program. Not only did 90% of the emails I'd saved over the span of 20 years (over 400,000 of them) vanish into infinity and beyond, but 50% of my vast customer, vendor, and personal database went along for the celestial ride. Our on-call (and painfully expensive) IT guy came in and salvaged an old database I had saved a few years ago with maybe 60% of my address book and managed to drop those into a "modern" email program (Thunderbird), but the majority of my precious emails can never be retrieved. Lost in space like the Jupiter 2. Oh, the pain, the pain.

Honestly, I'm not whining. I had been warning years ago that I needed to upgrade. I knew the "reckoning" was coming.. I'm only bringing this up because many of our newsletter subscribers will NOT be getting future newsletter notifications because their names are no longer in our database. If you notice you're not getting our bi-monthly notices or would just like to make sure you haven't been deleted.. .. please email me and I'll check and/or add your name to our "new" database.

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New Product Section: BMW K1600B (Bagger) & K1600 Grand America

Looks like the Germans hit the proverbial ball out of the park with the K1600 Bagger. Who'd a thunk it?! I sure didn't. We've been getting more requests for swag for that bike than all others combined. Up until a few weeks ago I didn't have much for it, but that oversight has been corrected. These last few weeks I've been working on an all new product line for the "bagger" and the Grand America and it's now gone live to the world.. While the menu is "lean" at the moment, I'll be adding products exponentially over the upcoming year. If you own a K1600B and have suggestions as to what should be offered on our site.. please let me know. This type of bike is out of my area of expertise and I can use some sage advice as to what a bagger owner might need/want/desire.

On our new K1600B Bagger web page (which also covers the Grand America)..includes many crossover products from our other BMW menus, but also the following juicy bits specifically for these bikes.. Wunderlich Engine Protection Bars and Bag Protection Bars, HeliBars, RKA Tankbags, Wunderlich Luggage Rack and Wunderlich Backrest, Remus Bagger Quad Stainless Steel Black Exhaust System, Synto Evo Levers, ZTechnik VStream Windshields, etc etc..

Shoe Me More, El Capitan!
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What's New In the No-Spin Zone

I should note that as the K1200RS and first generation K1200GT have been discontinued, I receive less and less news of any new products for them.. I mention this as a few semi-loyal subscribers have accused me of abandoning our roots.. Not true.. I only report what's going on.. Don't shoot the messenger.. I will NEVER abandon the K1200RS crowd. It appears that the times.. they are a changin.' Deal with it. Also.. a special thx to www.I-BMW.com for the information and/or pictures I regularly pilfer from them.

1. In one of our last few newsletters I mentioned that Powerlet had closed their doors and sold out. Here's some follow-up news.. All Powerlet products on Revzilla.com are marked "closeout." If you were going to expand an existing system - now would be the time. Heads up from a friend: Powerlet has closed the doors, but the website is still up and still accepting orders and money--just not shipping any product to anyone. Do NOT order off their website. Consider yourself forewarned.

2.I saw this at Backroads Magazine On-Line: The World’s Newest, Most Gloriously Designed Maps- The North American Cartographic Information Society will soon be releasing the 2018 Atlas of Design, its latest compendium of the world’s newest and best maps. For my fellow travelers..

3. Here's some interesting news..Wunderlich USA is moving to North Carolina! I wonder if it had anything to do with the high taxes in Kaleefornia?.. he said sarcastically.. Amazingly, their new headquarters will be just 15 minutes from Pirates lair. Sweet...

Dude.. where's my car..?

4. If you've read our newsletters through the years you've probably heard me say my biggest fear riding a motorcycle is hitting a deer. I've been lucky.. Dozens of riders I personally know have not. Here's a very good article I found in Revzilla's website.. .. "Not tonight, deer: Tips to avoid hitting a deer on your motorcycle" .. There are some damn good tips in there..

5. Here's some news for those lucky BMW K1200R Sport owners looking for an aftermarket windshield for their bikes.. RS Motorcycle Solutions in Germany has two offerings for that bike.. A Double Bubble in clear or smoked for $249US and a Tall Clear Windshield for painful $346US.. Agreed.. not cheap, but it's a rare bike and there may be no other options...

6. The word "motorcyclist" defines many of us.. I have over 1/2 million accident-free miles on my resume and consider myself the real deal.. That is.. until I meet a REAL motorcyclist.. Check out my good friend, Enrique (Hank ) Arriazola's website Motohank to see the guy I look up to...

7. I think most motorcyclists will find this interesting... .Harley-Davidson Needs a New Generation of Riders

8. BMW has made a self-riding motorcycle.. a BMW R 1200GS. Why? I have no fucking idea...The motorcycle doesn’t need a rider as it can start, shift gears, lean on the curve and stop itself without any help. BMW hasn’t revealed more details of how this work or the technology behind it...

9. BAD NEWS to end the year : I just got confirmation from Remus USA that their K1200RS & K1200LT full exhaust systems have been discontinued and all have been sold. They were the last company producing them for both these bikes. Bummer.

10. More Bad News I was just informed that as of 10/15/18 Remus USA has also discontinued their K1200S & K1200R kits. I did NOT see this coming. As of today we now only carry Two Brothers and Akrapovic for those bikes.

Click Here To See More... If You Dare

What's New at Pirates' Lair?

1. Holiday Military Swag: During the month of December, Pirates Lair will again be giving away a Free Pirates Lair Kickstand Pad with every order from a veteran or American soldier while they last... Just ask and you shall receive. You will NOT see these listed on our website. Our kickstand pads are made of a black thermoplastic with the legendary Pirates Lair logo emblazoned on them. This is now a Pirates Lair holiday tradition. We hope our service men and women around the world take us up on the offer. This is our humble way of saying "Thank you for all you do, soldier..."

2. Ch..Ch..Ch.. Changes.. If you've read this far you've probably noticed that (for the first time in 20 years..) I'm trying out a new and larger font in this most holy of newsletters. I've switched from Times to Georgia. Why the change, you ask? An influx of complaints that the "cheese" is too hard to read. Aging eyes and all that, doncha know.. The new font is 30% larger than all our past newsletters. What say ye? Yea or nay? Opinions welcome...

3. Here's a last minute idea for an inexpensive Christmas present.. FYI.. I never ride without wearing a helmet liner inside my helmet.. NEVER.. and the best one on the market IMHO is the Raci-Baby Helmet Liner I actually did a review of this helmet liner in our July 2012 Issue. I have 3 that I rotate in the wash when the other is dirty. IMHO.. these would make the perfect gift for anyone who wears a helmet.... Motorcyclists, snowmobilers, skiers, bicyclists, and probably soldiers. And did I mention these are made here in the USA?

4. Some bad news to start the year.. It wasn't 2 weeks ago that I announced Remus had discontinued their K1200RS and GT exhaust systems.. We had plenty of notice on that one. Those are now gone. This morning (9/15) I was informed that they have also discontinued their K1200S & K1200R kits.. Aint' dat a pisser?! I did NOT see that coming. As of today we now only carry Two Brothers and Akrapovic for those bikes.

5. Our R1200RS Stealth backrest was postponed for numerous reasons, but it's back on track.. or so we're told. I'm hoping to have them available by spring 2019...

6. Here's a new accessory available for those rare BMW K1 owners.. Pyramid Plastics (in the UK) has developed a Fiberglass K1 Extenda Fenda for the K1 Club there. They asked me to mention it in our newsletter.. Talking about an "out of the blue" offering... While this isn't something we'd carry on our web site, we get shipments from Pyramid regularly and I'd be glad to bring one in for anyone who asks...

Click Here To See More... If You Dare

7. During the month of December and in the spirit of giving.. Pirates Lair is giving away a FREE Pirates Lair Tee, Raci Baby Helmet Liner, or pair of Grip Buddies with every exhaust system or Wilbers shocks sold... Take your pick. Just let us know at time of order.

8. As per the blurb above.. Pirates Lair has an all new product menu for the BMW K1600B Bagger and Grand America.. If you can think of something you'd like to see on our menu.. please email me and let me know.

9. New Bagger Product! We now have Carbone Loraine Brake Pads for the BMW K1600B / Bagger...

10. For those with ADD and/or missed my blurb above about us losing our database recently in an epic crash.. If you think you may have missed one of our newsletter notices and you want to make sure your name is in our 100% secure "new" database... please email me and I'll make sure it's in there or add it it.

Click Here To See More... If You Dare!

11. New Product Alert! Weiser UltraBrights Extreme LED Turn Signal Inserts The ultimate LED turn signal solution. Weiser Ultrabrights are simply the brightest, most attractive range of turn signal upgrades you can buy. Install is truly plug-n-play. Basically, pop old reflectors out of housing, plug the circuit board into the existing wiring, and put the lens cover back on. Done. Sold in pairs only. We have these for almost every BMW made since 1995. They are 100% CanBus compatible and made in the UK. Full 2 year warranty. Plug-N-Play rear visibility..

12. We discontinued our ST1300 Stealth Backrests a few years ago when Honda stopped selling the bike in the US. For a while that was our biggest seller, but when the demand is gone it's just not cost effective to keep producing them. We still get a request or two a month. While visiting our machinist a few weeks ago he mentioned he still had a few parts left over from that project , Once he assembled them he came up with (4) ST1300 kits. That being said.. if you know anyone who has an ST1300 and is looking for a backrest.... these will be the last kits we'll produce and they'll sell faster than opiods in Ohio on a Friday night.

Click Here for Full Web Page.. If You Dare!

How-To-Survive On A Motorcycle

We have no new contributions this month. Our last was from Paul Andry of Highlands, North Carolina . Check out #166. Could his tip save your life? Dare you not look?.

If you'd like to help others by contributing a How-To-Survive On A Motorcycle, How to Survive Deals Gap, or any How-To link.. First... check out the tips we already have and if you have something new... just send to me and if it's worthy... I'll add it.

Pirates Lair Sacred Archives

We get a lot of requests for specific articles and/or reviews I've written in the past. Rather than fry my aging brain trying to remember where they are on our multi-hundred page website, I have decided to list the "worthy" ones here. Most of the links are to past newsletters.. Some are to full web articles. Remember, I'm no expert on anything except perhaps rolling joints and cunnilingus so the opinions within the archives are only my own. Saavy?

BMW How-To Section

We have no new contributions this issue. Our last contribution was from "Voxmagna" (a regular poster over at I-BMW.com ) who resides in London, England. I'll wager that his tip might just be a godsend to many K1200RS owners... K1200RS Blinker Pods: 'Fixed' Forever! Thanks, Vox. Well done..

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Guess that kinda wraps this one up. This will be the last communiqué for 2018. What an interesting year it's been, but aren't they all? I know we don't tell you enough, but Amber and I really appreciate everyone's continued support, advice, encouragement, and occasional naked pics through the years. Best wishes to you all for a safe and prosperous 2019...

In spite of what the far left would like us to say, we sincerely hope that you and yours (no matter what bike you ride and/or religion) have a a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Remember if you're gonna drink... leave the bike at home... For our secularist customers... Happy Winter Season.

For the US troops serving all over the world thank you for everything you are doing for us and our country. Godspeed, soldier.

Take care.. ride safe...stay warm.. and watch out for flying reindeer... See you in the New Year.. in my mirrors.

Amber and Keera..

Pirates Lair Cheesy Newsletters .. Past Issues