Archive for May, 2008

Ruger Redhawk – .44mag

It has been roughly five weeks since I returned from Iraq, and I managed to make it the whole time without a firearm purchase. I just couldn’t stand it any longer.

So, as a man with several pistols, several rifles, and a shotgun – what else could I possibly need? Simple, I don’t have a revolver, and I’d like to become a Texas Concealed Handgun License Instructor – rather than just a permit holder. In my Army time, I trained a good many people to shoot. A lot of them couldn’t hit the broad side of barn from the inside with a nuke. I rather enjoy teaching people to do the things I love – play guitar, shoot, work on cars, whatever. So why not make it official and get a little pocket change along the way?

In order to do that I need a revolver. For instructor status, I must pass the proficiency exam with both a semi-auto and a revolver. Such a task is a bit difficult if you don’t have a revolver in the first place. Hunting comes in somewhere, so I figured I’d attack both problems with the same purchase. Thus I am now the owner of a brand new Ruger Redhawk in .44 Magnum. Honestly, I wanted something in .45 Long Colt, but .44 Magnum will do.

Lap Around America

Well, the plan was good while it lasted. Unfortunately a dirty little thing I like to call “reality” bit me in the ass. Literally. Riding over 400 miles a day on my SV650S to Bonnaroo was painful to say the least. In fact, it was the inverse of fun, which was the entire point of the ride. Anyhow, my lack of a job – or even serious prospects of a job, has prompted a serious trimming of the trip-fat. I’ll do a few thousand miles, and enjoy some of what my country has to offer. When that’s done, I’ll hit the job trail hard. I will do the other portions of the ride in sections, over spring/summer breaks to come.

Ft. Davis, TX
Tombstone, AZ
The Grand Canyon
Las Vegas, NV

Installing hard cases on my Suzuki SV650S

Today I finally got a chance to get outside and install the hard cases on my Suzuki SV650S. The cases are Hepcko & Becker Junior cases (30L) and are mounted to SW-MOTECH quick release mounts. At first, there was some concern that the mounts, and cases would not fit with my M4 full exhaust, but when all was said and done, it all fits just fine.

Here’s what my pre-install layout looked like, note that most folks won’t need a drill – unless they’ve got a shock reservoir that needs relocating:
SW Motech + Hepcko Becker Cases on an '05 Suzuki SV650S

I removed what I figured would be the easiest part of the installation first, so off came the factory grab bar, and in went the SW-MOTECH replacement. The rear grab bar is replaced wish a bottom plate that has the two upper mounting tabs for the quick release system. My only complaint here is that a spacer that is supposed to go underneath my helmet lock on either side of the bike is at least .020″ oversize. Another minor complaint is that apparently, to German engineers “locking nut” means “not threaded properly.” When I get around to it, half of these fasteners will be replaced with those having proper threading.

Rear grab bar replaced:
SW Motech + Hepcko Becker Cases on an '05 Suzuki SV650S

Greetings, oversized spacers:
SW Motech + Hepcko Becker Cases on an '05 Suzuki SV650S

From there, I tackled the rear bracket, which mounts in the factory fender – you’ll need that if you intend to use these mounts. I know most people lob the shovel of a rear fender off as soon as they can, but I never got around to it. My biggest problem with the rear mount is that there was no consideration given to the rubber grommets that are part of the factory mounting system for the rear turn signals, which must be relocated for the bags to fit. That lack of consideration leaves entirely too much free play in the relocated signals, and will have to be fixed by some rubber shims later. It would have been nice if they’d just sized the wings of the bracket to properly fit the grommets the bike came with, but I suppose you can’t think of everything all of the time.

Rear bracket work:
SW Motech + Hepcko Becker Cases on an '05 Suzuki SV650S

From the back:
SW Motech + Hepcko Becker Cases on an '05 Suzuki SV650S

The mounting tab that goes under the footpegs was actually the easiest part to install, and took all of two minutes. My complication will be the relocation of my shock reservoir, as it used to mount in the same place. The solution I’ve come up with, involves a drill.

Side case bracket all mounted up:
SW Motech + Hepcko Becker Cases on an '05 Suzuki SV650S

The other side, clearing the exhaust quite nicely:
SW Motech + Hepcko Becker Cases on an '05 Suzuki SV650S

Closer view of the exhaust to bracket clearance:
SW Motech + Hepcko Becker Cases on an '05 Suzuki SV650S

Finally, behold the Suzuki SV650ST :)

SW Motech + Hepcko Becker Cases on an '05 Suzuki SV650S

Click here for a few more photos.

I did….. what???

I did….. what???

Originally uploaded by Anthony J. Martinez

Yes, this photo is in fact real. That is me, with my right hand raised, and for the second time in my life taking an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States (and that of Texas) against all enemies foreign and domestic.

Now, why… why on EARTH would someone who has clearly been as eager to get out of the Army re-enlist and join the Texas National Guard? Did you really think I’d leave you hanging?

Here’s the deal, I enlisted in the regular Army on March 18th, 2003. As such, I had an obligation for military service that did not fully end until March 17th, 2011. There are some 31 months between July 30th, 2008, and March 17th, 2011. During those 31 months, I could, at any time, have been called back to active duty, and sent right back to that lovely sand filled place where things routinely explode. Not quite what I have in mind.

By transitioning to the National Guard, I’ve reduced my remaining Military Service Obligation from 31mo to 15mo, all the while making myself non-deployable for 24mo. If you’re paying attention, you’ll note that I can not be federally mobilized for 9 months longer than I even have left in service. In short, I’m done with deploying. Hurricane relief, stuff like that – sure, why not. My whole family is from the Texas coast, so I’d be there anyway.

And that’s that.

Back in the Saddle Again

Finally got to ride my motorcycle again, so I went ahead and took a few photos at a stop I made.

Fittingly enough, yesterday as I returned from a “refresher course” mandated by my Commanding General, iTunes hit me directly in the face with Roll Me Away by Bob Seger. As soon as I got off work, I did as ol’ Bob said and headed out to my big two wheeler.

When I got out to US280 and headed east, I let my friend the v-twin sing a little as I rolled on the throttle. Hearing the rush of valves, and feeling the cool breeze come up under my helmet was excellent. I’d forgot how much that feeling was missed.

After I landed back at Ft. Benning, I noticed gas prices might just throw a wrench into my plans to ride around the country. Five minutes into my ride yesterday, I officially decided gas can go to $10/mL for all I care – I’m making the lap. I just love riding way too much!

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