Thanks for the responses everyone! The solution turned out to be a little embarrassingly simple. In a nut shell, I changed my boots to a thinner pair and was able to slide my foot under and get a better lift on the shifter. The boots I was using before are waterproof insulated steel toe work boots. It was just too thick with the floor boards.
I also practiced the recommended technique, holding first gear a little longer, preloading the shifter, and quickly pulling in the clutch and shifting.
This technique works pretty well but takes a little thought. I need to get this bike out of the city soon!
Stay tuned for a post in a few days with some stories from this weekend when I changed the wiring harness to the Electrical Connection wiring harness.