Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: April 2012


To boldly Riverside, Iowa!

As part of my quarterly journey to Lincoln, NE a couple weeks ago, I took a detour down the beaten path (and away from the interstate for a few minutes) to a place that has often been the subject of Star Trek lore, Riverside, Iowa. According to the Gene Roddenberry, the creator of "Star Trek," Riverside is the future birthplace of James Tiberius Kirk, a boy who would grow up to be captain of the USS Enterprise.

Riverside, IA (population 928) is a small town south of Iowa City, IA, about 20 miles below Interstate 80 on the east side of the state. It's a simple place, with a main road that goes right through town, a single gas station, fire station, and several stores. If you ride through the main thoroughfare (Iowa Highway 22), you probably would miss everything if not for the giant starship float in front of the town's museum and historical center that meets you at one of the curves.

I think this is the right place...
The Riverside History Center houses several examples of Star Trek memorabilia and cool artifacts from William Shatner's visit there in 2004 for the filming of "Invasion Iowa." There are also other historical photos of its long past; one of its oldest buildings, St. Mary's Catholic Church, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It's a simple place, but it has quite a few cool things inside.
Some strange things in here, like this unburied time capsule.
Billboard from William Shatner's 2004 visit to Riverside. Several cue cards (not shown) from filming adorn the walls. His director's chair sits in the bottom right corner.
Does anyone want a tribble to piss of a Klingon?
There are several, fan-donated displays of toy collections and memorabilia. The museum runs solely on donations so they're always looking for something new to add to the exhibit.
Two Starfleet uniforms from the TV series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
Continue about four blocks up the road and you'll find the official stone marker that heralds the future coming of one of the greatest captains to ever come out of Starfleet Academy.

The stone marker is behind a small yellow building. Don't worry, the place gives you enough clues.
Come back in a couple hundred years for the real birthday party!
So, if you want to go see "Where the Trek Begins," head to Riverside, IA. If you want to make a weekend of it, definitely visit on the last weekend of June for their annual Trekfest. There's also a huge golf course/resort at its outskirts to keep you busy.

For more information about this city, visit their official website at

Live long and prosper!


Strange(r) uses for an FJR1300 (a.k.a. Pickup truck? I don't need no stinkin' pickup truck!)

It is normal for someone to ask me, considering the amount of miles on my FJR1300's odometer, "Where have you been with that bike?"

I wish someone would ask me, "What have you done with that bike?"

Sometimes, the most interesting adventures my motorcycle are experiences that don't rely on the number of miles to be memorable, but what has been done with that machine in short distances.

In a 2010 blog post here on Two-Wheeled Tourist, I featured one of Eleanor's "hidden" talents, her ability to pull a trailer and carry large objects. (Click here to read "I rode my bike to trailer week"). This weekend, I get to add an additional ability to her résumé: tree removal and landscaping.

Matt borrowed my bike on Friday to tow our old 1986 Honda Aero 50 two-stroke scooter to work via trailer to hand it over to its new owner - here's an older photo of the same task for reference.

Later that day, he utilized the bike to transport a 300lb. dead tree stump to the back of a building after initially extracting it from the front lawn by using the bike to yank it from the earth. With a tow strap tied to the FJR's trailer hitch and the other end on the clump of organic mass, Matt dragged the object successfully across the parking lot.

I'll let the video do all the talking. Enjoy. And nice work, Eleanor.


Food Review: The Green Papaya (Lincoln, NE)

Authentic Vietnamese food in Lincoln...NEBRASKA? It's a bit far from Westminster, CA but the flavor is definitely spot on!

I rode past this place on my motorcycle on the way to the Super 8 hotel in Lincoln, NE where I have my quarterly board meeting with the Women On Wheels® Board of Trustees and just had to try it today during our lunch break. It's been a while since I had Vietnamese food; the last time I had a nice hot bowl of pho (beef portions and rice noodles) was in La Habra at the then newly-opened Olivia's Bistro almost three years ago.

I took a couple of my fellow WOW board members along for what turned out to be a very tasty first-time experience for both of them.

We came into the restaurant and were immediately greeted. For my pho, I ordered the combination bowl that included beef sirloin, flank steak, brisket, tendon, tripe, and meatballs. When I go with pho, I like everything in it. The entire bowl was very well balanced. I was able to taste all of the ingredients in the soup and it wasn't salty like some other bowls that I've had in the past. It disappeared quite quickly.

Huge bowl of pho! Bring your appetite!
For dessert, I indulged in a Thai bubble tea. It took me back home to CA for just a few minutes with its sweet and creamy texture. The boba (tapioca balls) at the bottom was plentiful and were properly cooked.

After hanging out in Lincoln area a few times, I would consider this place to be a local culinary gem in my book. The restaurant is Vietnamese-owned and completely authentic. If you're driving through Lincoln, NE on I-80, swing down 27th Street and make a stop here - and perhaps spend the night at the Cornhusker Super 8 (they've taken care of us every time we've been here)

The Green Papaya Vietnamese Cuisine & Deli is located at 2701 N. 27th St. in Lincoln. Check out their Facebook page and give them a like!

Green Papaya on Urbanspoon


Food Review: Rotelli's (Gahanna, OH)

I ended up eating dinner here on a fluke a couple weeks ago. Matt and I were meeting up with a few friends to watch Wrestlemania 28 at Buffalo Wild Wings in Gahanna, but with the wait for a table being nearly three hours and over fifty-five people in front of us, I gave up and walked across the parking lot to Rotelli's Italian Restaurant to have dinner.

Rotelli's is an open seating restaurant with full service and a bar. I was greeted by a server and immediately had warm, baked yeast rolls brushed with olive oil and freshly cut garlic on top. Yup, I was definitely sticking around for dinner.

Endless supply too? You betcha.
I ordered a penne alfredo with shrimp for my meal, and I was very impressed with the quality and creaminess of the alfredo sauce and the quality of the pasta. The shrimp was very large, fresh, and sauteed with the perfect level of tenderness. The chef even was nice enough to throw a few extra prawns in at no additional charge! It reminded me very much of a restaurant I often frequented when I attended USC called Pasta Roma. I remembered that place quite fondly and Rotelli was pretty close to that wonderful taste of home.

Bring an empty stomach. You're going to need it.
This place deserves a revisit. Since there were no televisions at this restaurant, I didn't have to compete with the people who either had no friends or were too cheap to buy Pay-Per-View (we ended up riding across town it at a friend's parents' house to watch Wrestlemania). With specials such as endless spaghetti and meatball Mondays, it is a bit tempting. Besides, BW3's wings and most of their entrees aren't that appealing to me anyway.

Rotelli's is located at 1334 Cherry Bottom Road in Gahanna. This branch is part of a chain that is currently in six states. For more information, visit

Rotelli's on Urbanspoon


Motorcycle foot controls on cruisers - ergonomics do matter.

I can't sleep, so you're going to hear all about it.

If you recall from my blog entry a few weeks ago, I was dealing with a problem in my right foot which I assumed to be either a heel spur, plantar faciitis, or a heel bruise. The pain was so excruciating that I had to use crutches for a week and sit out four hockey games as well as the gym as I couldn't put any weight on that foot. Although that didn't stop me from riding the motorcycle, it did make navigating the store during high volumes of customer traffic a bit challenging at times.

When trying to investigate what started the pain in the first place, I narrowed it to one activity that I was performing when my foot became aggravated: I was riding a loaner cruiser from the motorcycle store (a 2006 Yamaha Royal Star Midnight Tour Deluxe to be exact) with forward controls.

Because of my height and inseam (5'5.5"/29.5 in.), forward controls (which, in non-motorcyclist speak, are defined as the footpegs/floorboards, shift, and brake lever placed so the legs are stretched in front of rider) can be difficult on bigger cruisers that are designed for taller people. In some test rides, I have been known to completely move my body from one side to the other to shift gears (left foot) and to apply the rear brake (right foot). In the case of the aforementioned loaner cruiser I was riding, I had to stretch a little bit to keep my foot on the bike's floorboards. That also contributed to some of the foot pain because the hyperextension of my leg to meet the controls forced the back of my motorcycle boot to press right into my Achilles tendon area. After a 60 mile round trip, I definitely felt that for a while. However, that wasn't what caused the most serious pain; it was the fact that I attempted to compensate for my lack of reach by straightening my entire right leg and resting my heel directly on the floorboard, probably aggravating my plantar fascia (the thick band of tissue that's connected to the heel) in the process.


Food Review: Dan's Deli #41 (mobile eatery, anywhere in Central Ohio)

Since my blog mainly focuses on things on wheels, I'm going to switch gears and do a food review on an establishment that thrives on mobility and bringing the food to your event.

As the event coordinator for Independent Motorsports, I invited Dan's Deli #41 to our MC Networking Event last Saturday, 3/31 for a trial run. I've seen several of these trailers roaming around various parts of Columbus and I figured it would be fun to bring some food options to our event.

Here's Dan's Deli #41 serving up our guests at the Independent Motorsports MC Networking Event on 3/31/12.