Happy New Year! Let me tell you, the last half of 2011 and the first half of 2012 were rotten. I am so looking forward to 2013. It has to be good by comparison, but today I am watching the cold rain come down, and I am nursing a nasty head cold. My New Year’s resolution is to get out more and keep the dust blown off my Harley… One good thing did happen in 2012. Unlike 2011, I got my annual road trip in. Terry and Bobbie Jo Hurst and Jack Munoz and I rode all over Utah. The last few years, I have enjoyed having company on my road trips. My sister rode behind me on several trips, Jack has ridden with me since the summer of 2005 and the last three years, we have been a foursome. It is so much nicer to have company along because when I first started with out-of-state road trips, I often went by myself. Back then I was a new rider with little experience, so I restricted myself to blue roads only. When I started having company along, I ventured onto the red roads. Wow! What a difference. Don’t know blue roads from red roads? Take a look at a map. Blue roads are Interstate freeways and, aside from the traffic, these roads are boring. There is nothing to see but concrete and automobiles. Red roads are secondary highways. These will take you through small towns and countryside. It is from a red road that you can see Americana. Now, after all these years, I look for passable black roads. If you are new to Interstate road trips, be a little cautious before heading out on a black road. Some of them are perfectly fine, but many of them are not paved and there may be no services. Ask the locals for advice… Happy birthday to all Harley riders who celebrate in January. Happy birthday to IHR members Lorie Linderman in Shingle Springs, Will Long in Pocatello, Idaho, Mardi Moore in Boulder Creek, Cathy Young in Santa Cruz and Diana Visage in Medford, Oregon. Happy birthday to Denise R. Peets in Long Beach and to Mark Johnson in Las Vegas. In San Jose, happy birthday to Gary Cook and Peggy Harrington; to Rich Larson and Michael Zaballos in Santa Cruz; to Elvira Nevarez in Woodland and to Bill Katen in Sacramento. Happy birthday to Roger Gilbert, managing partner of Monterey Bay Harley-Davidson, and to celebrity rider Nicolas Cage. You, too, can get a birthday greeting. E-mail me with your location or riding group and give me the month of your birthday. If you don’t want to do this for yourself, send the information for your spouse and/or best friend… What is going on with the National Transportation Safety Board? In November 2012, the NTSB issued a report giving the morbid statistics for the cost of a motorcycle crash. The report claims that direct costs from deaths and injuries caused by motorcycle accidents in 2010 were $16 billion. They said that the average cost for a fatal crash is about $1.2 million, while the cost for injuries ranged between $2,500 and $1.4 million. They don’t say where they got these numbers, but they do say that laws requiring riders to wear helmets are the only proven way to reduce the risk. They say that the use of helmets has reduced the risks by as much as 39 percent, and it has saved as many as 1,500 riders in any one year. Then, in the same month of November, the NTSB dropped mandatory helmet laws from their list of 10 “most wanted” safety improvements. What do you think this all means?… Take out a mortgage on the house and head for Las Vegas. On January 10, the annual motorcycle auction will take place at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. The auction will be conducted by London’s famous Bonham’s auction house, and the headliner motorcycle will be Steve McQueen’s Husqvarna. I always thought that Steve rode a Triumph. Triumph—and, in fact, Steve did ride a Triumph TR6 Trophy. Triumph was the bike of choice for many stars back in the ’50s and ’60s. Ann-Margret rode a 500cc Triumph T100C Tiger, James Dean rode a Triumph Tiger T110, Bob Dylan rode a Triumph Tiger 100 and Marlon Brando rode a Triumph Thunderbird 6T. But, we were talking about Steve McQueen’s Husqvarna. The Husqvarna is better known as the “Husky,” and production began in Husqvarna, Sweden, in 1903. The motorcycle division was sold to the Italian motorcycle company, Cagiva, in 1987, and in 2007 the Italians sold to German BMW. However, BMW is maintaining development, sales and production in Varese, Italy. This is truly an international enterprise. You may preview the bikes that are to be auctioned at Bally’s on January 9. For more information, contact Bonham’s in San Francisco at motors.us@bonhams or call 415.503.3550. Or contact Nick Smith in Los Angeles at 323.436.5470 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nick is their motorcycle specialist… After you mortgage the house for Steve McQueen’s Husky, you may want to send some money for a bike raffle. On June 2, Iron Steed H-D will put on its annual Hot Rods and Harleys Ride-in Car & Bike Show at the dealership in Vacaville. At that event, Iron Steed in conjunction with ABATE Local 17 will give away a 2013 Road Glide Custom. Tickets are $10 each, five for $45 or 10 for $90, and they are available at the dealership or by contacting Jim at 707.430.2316 or Glenn at 707.624.6310.