Tuesday, December 18, 2007

For the polar bear in all of us.........

Its 30 degrees outside and it looks like a nice day for a ride. The initial plan was to run to Fredericksburg to get BBQ. When we made it to the turn on Hamilton Pool Rd, we decided that pie would be a better choice. Also about 60 miles shorter. We ended up making the run to Marble Falls and have some pie at the Bluebonnet Cafe. Damn good pie. Just to provide a bit of perspective on the temp...... 30 degrees at 65 MPH equals about 10 degrees. All told, we knocked off about 150 miles and we were under freezing with the wind-chill most of the way.

So, I made some interesting discoveries about my new trick shoulder. The cold is nasty. The colder my shoulder gets, the more stiff it gets. As long as I am going in a straight line, it isn't a problem. When I go into a turn it is a bit blocky on the turns. I also learned that long sweeping left turns are ok, but the long sweeping right turns hurt after a while. I am pretty much assuming that this will go away over time, but it still temporarily sucks.....

Here is the route we took....

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Weather predicting shoulder.......

So this morning the weather predicting shoulder spoke. 35 degrees, 20 MPH wind, and an 80% chance of rain on Saturday canceled the plans for the bikes this weekend. Looking outside right now, I think it was a good choice. It is actually raining outside, and this is when we would have been hitting Dallas. I just hope the shoulder stops reacting to cold like this as it heals, cold and damp is not even a little bit comfortable. Oh well......



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cold, windy, wet, and on two......

The forecast calls for 20 MPH winds, chance for rain, and 42 degree weather. This is called payback weather. For people who ride in Texas and gripe about the heat. I always tell rookies to enjoy the 100 degree days because when (if) winter comes in, you will miss the heat. I am sitting in the garage next to a loaded bike, listening to the wind blow outside, and all I can think of is how nice it will be to be knees in the breeze even if it is below freezing.

For anybody that wants to check my math...... 42 degrees + 65 MPH = 27 degrees WCF.


I think Kel has the best observation for my particular outlook on these things... "It is just different for you, you're stupid"

on that note, I will go to bed and dream of a vibrating lawn chair.



Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving prep....

The shoulder is doing well, full range of motion, very little pain. We will know when we get to Waco if riding with the shoulder was a good idea. Got the beast inspected and the tags renewed today. I had to teach the guy at the station how to inspect a motorcycle. All that is left to do is an oil change. I just hit 15000 KM. I want to make sure it is in good shape before the Dallas trip. I just changed out the vacuum lines, looked like I had a leak in one. Not good for the engine.



Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pre-trip maintenance

So here we go, finally getting around to doing some work on the bike before the harvest classic run. I did the maintenance...Oil, Gearbox, valves, etc.... Now I am just waiting for my new final drive to get in. I am moving from 4.62 to 3.89. That will make it much easier to run on the highway.


Monday, September 24, 2007

We made it home alive.

Looks like me made it back. Now it is time to do all of the maintenance that needs to be done on the bikes after a long trip.

The ride back was fairly uneventful The roads out there are nice, but nothing like what we have been on. Just pretty enough to keep you awake, but not wild that you have to spend a lot of time working on keeping the bike up. Turns out the whole trip , with the in town running around came up to about 1900 miles.

Here is the final map.

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Looks like the next trip will be a short one, The Hill country Classic Rally, in Luckenbach.

Till then, Keep the dirty side down....


Thursday, September 20, 2007

The long road home.....

We rolled out of Yukon, OK about 9:00 this morning. The road rolled by fairly easily. Today was spent mostly on fairly flat and featureless roads, with only a few very small towns along the way. The best thing on that road is the bridge over the Red River with a big sign on the far side that says "Welcome to Texas!" I got a bad case of Road Butt, I am going to bed. Next update will be from home tomorrow evening. YAY!!!!!!

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Rollin home.....


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Route 66 and the assorted kicks.......

The road out of Eureka Springs is just about as nice as the road in. Not quite as high on the pucker factor, but still something to experience first thing in the morning while you are still tired from the night before. We crossed into Oklahoma on US 62. The first thing we discover is that we are on the Trail of Tears. This road has got to be a hidden gem. We did not see another bike through the whole thing. There were a few nice switchbacks , one even came with a semi crowding the double stripe.

Once we got onto 66 everything smoothed out nicely. Not much in the way of curves, not much in the way of real anything. I think the interstate has finally killed off the small towns along 66 except for the big ones that also touch the interstate. Pretty much all there is now is abandoned buildings and Route 66 museums and gift shops. On top of that, it looked like someone carpet-bombed the highway and then set the speed limit to 65.

Remember the old childhood rhyme "Birdie birdie in the sky, why'd you do this in my eye?" I think this bird must have had some precision bombing training. The little sucker got me right in the visor, in front of my right eye, at 60 mph. I am also discovering that Oklahoma has one of the most amazing selections of bugs I have ever encountered. We actually had to stop one hour outside of OKC to clean my visor.

Tomorrow is the downhill run back to Texas. Thursday night at Kel's parents house, then back to Austin on Fri.

Here was the route for today. Total mileage so far 1100 miles.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And God said...."Let there be roller coaster......"

And there was Arkansas SH-7, and it was GOOD! That was the most insane road I have seen in a long time. Think 2222 between Mopac and 360, only 200 miles long. There were sections where you lost so much elevation in a curve your ears popped. There was a series of four S-curves that were so tight they were marked at 20mph. The road turned into sensory overload a lot more quickly than I would have believed. After hitting 7, I have to believe God loves roller coasters. If you are going to ride this little slice of heaven, the big thing that I will tell you is that you have to trust your bike. Some of those curves, even as marked, the only thing getting you through them alive is your bike's sense of self preservation.

There were a few scenic turnouts along the way.....we took a couple. The pictures are at http://public.fotki.com/dave-d/hot-springs/.

The only real downer was the 10 miles we were caught behind a semi haling chickens....They were in open air cages, and the stench was unreal. The feathers were coming off of the truck and flowing back around us, so we got some souveniers to remind us of that joyful aroma.

A bit of trivia for the day, some butterflies can sly while they have sex. I saw two of them locked together flying across the road. In fact, they were still locked together when we stopped and I wiped them off of my visor. That was nasty.......

Here is the route, click on the "view larger" link to see the actual route.

View Larger Map

Oh well, tomorrow is the run down Route 66.

Ya'll have fun now, y'hear...


Monday, September 17, 2007

Killing off a day in Hot Springs....Later that evening.

We got to spend the day puttering around Hot Springs, it was fabulous. Wagner's is cool. Their shop is exactly that....a shop. Wagner's is not a showroom. Mike runs the place with Felicia. She handles the customer service, he makes the bikes go. Mike is an old flat track racer with the personality that is appropriate to them. He got a kick out of the Ural that is going solo, then he spent a lot of time going over Kel's bike examining the setup. We hung out, had coffee, got some spare parts (just in case), and headed for lunch.

Lunch was at this nice little restaurant in downtown Hot Springs. It was this little Cuban place called Renaldo's. It was awesome. 5 star food at Chilli's prices, and service that I have never seen before. When the server found out about my problems with onions, she took my plate back and informed us that one of the drizzles that the chef had used had onion in it, so she had him re-make it.

Then came the bath-house.......We went to the Arlington Bath-house. If you have never been to a bath-house, you gotta try it. Basically, they are going to pamper by force, if necessary.

First you go into the tub. The tub is about 3 feet deep by 4 feet wide, by 6 feet long. It is filled to the middle of your chest with hot mineral water. Then they turn on this turbine that looks like an outboard motor that hangs in the tub. Once you get good and poached, they pull you out of the tub and throw you into a hot room and let you bake for about 15 minutes. After pulling you out of the hot room, you are put on a table and covered with hot towels, then wrapped in a cold sheet. Once the towels cool off, you are put in a shower. The shower is called the "needle shower". After all of this, it is finally time for a 30 min massage with hot oil. All of this together takes about two hours and ran a shocking $60. You can't get a kind word from a massage therapist in Austin for $60.

Oh well, tomorrow is the run to Eureka Springs. Time for bed.



Killing off a day in Hot Springs....

I have often told people that distance riding is "Brain Draino". After about 300 miles on a motorcycle, you have worked your way through all of the thoughts that have been percolating for weeks. Everything that needs to be sorted has been sorted, everything that should be pondered has been pondered. If 300 miles hasn't doen it, you do 300 more miles. Don't come back till it is stacked and sorted. I don't listen to music on the bike. It isn't that I think it is necessarily dangerous, I just don't like to add distractions during the sorting process. You really find out what you are made of when you are trapped inside a helmet for 6 hours with nothing but road noise and your own thoughts. After about an hour, you are in a groove with the bike, and there is not a lot of work that needs to be done to keep the bike up and rolling, except for the occasional curve. You just roll and think.

Today, we hit the hot springs and get a massage, I am really looking forward to this. After the full body overhaul, I am heading to Wagner's Cycles. Wagner's is the Ural dealer near Hot Springs. I want to check in and let everybody know I made it. Wag's is where I get parts for my bike, so I talk to them often but I have never actually met any of them. They all know I am the idiot that likes to do distance on a Ural, so they asked me to swing by if I got up their way. Well, I am gonna......

Keep the shiny side up....


Sunday, September 16, 2007

310 miles of hell followed by 20 miles of heaven

So we start out this morning from Dallas, it is probably around 8:00. Its cool, 70 degrees or so. Fog is rolling off the fields across the road, so I get cold fog. The first couple hours were not that bad, long straightaways with a few gentle curves thrown in for variety. After Texarkana, the road was quite likely the most boring road I ever saw in my life. It was one of those concrete jobs with the very well defined seams in between the sections. Almost an hour of that and I am about to go crazy. The droning of the motor, the rhythmic thump-thump-thump of the seams. Then it hits me, a grasshopper, right in the adam's apple. Talk about "the one with your name on it, that thing had my name, home address, phone number, and a sketch. Talk about leaving a mark, Kel saw my neck when we stopped and thought a bee had stung me. It was just a grasshopper, but it was not pleasant.

The thing that I love about long rides like these is there is so much time to think, and very little to think about. The problem that I always run into is that I never remember the incredible revelations that come on the road.

We got a preview of Ark Highway 7 today. It looks kild of like the willow city loop only with pine trees and a lake in the middle of it. If I can figure out how to do it, I will embed the route below If you hit the "View Larger map", you can actually see the route we took.

Have fun,


View Larger Map

Friday, September 14, 2007

Day 1 addendum.....

Kel is keeping a journal over on live journal.com. Here is the link...


Day 1 Austin to Dallas

Well, our descent into madness has begun. The goal of this trip is "All back roads". We went up 79 to 77, then all the way to Dallas. All in all, it was a very nice ride. We ran the gamut from 65 degrees when we left at 6:30, to about 90 degrees when we got in. The two real bits of excitement on the way up. First, I caught a fire breathing dragonfly to the thumb on my clutch hand. I felt the impact all the way up to my elbow. I can honestly say that it was......exhilarating. The next was the 10 minutes following the line of cars behind the highway striping team. I know that we all joke about people in cars not paying attention, but the people behind the team were completely ignoring the flag man that was waving traffic around the team, just putting along at 3 MPH. I mean really people....AIR COOLED ENGINE.......this will not last long. Finally got around them after about 10 min, but I was definitely feeling the heat off of the engine for the rest of the ride.

The in-laws are having a big birthday thing on Saturday, so we will be taking off to Hot Springs Sunday morning about 7:00am. Wish us luck, here we go.......

Thursday, September 13, 2007

So it begins.......

So I guess this is how it begins. I start to get ready for a road trip and figure, why not keep everybody who cares in the loop on the events du-jour. I set this up to keep a journal of my trips on the motorcycle. When I looked at setting this up, I saw that I had a choice......I could spend all of my time setting up the template and getting everything all pretty and interesting, or I could get on my bike and ride so I have something to write about. If you have a motorcycle, you understand why this is set up with a basic template. If you don't, no amount of explaining will cover it. Maybe I will make it prettier during the next ice-storm (in Texas......). Don't hold your breath.

Keep the shiny side up.....