Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Road Trip Day 5

    The music of the day was actually pretty random.  I have no idea what the Garmin is up to now.  I think it is trying to lull me into a false sense of security, then play the same song over and over for the next 6 hours. 

    Today's ride was a little bit of a grind.  I really haven't had a burn day yet, and I have a long one tomorrow also.  I am most likely going to Denton, and then on Thursday go to Ft Worth.  That will be as good as a burn day.  Then I will be heading for Hamilton, TX for Roll the Bones III.  I actually get so sit in a sidecar and just hold on.

    The day started off in a little town called Cordova, TN.  After talking to the desk clerk, I decided to get up at 6 and be rolling by 7 to beat the traffic.  That also put me out early enough to stop by the Starbucks south of town to get coffee.  While I was sitting there, I spoke to a very nice police officer, who told me that if I waited until about 8:30 or so, the traffic would die off, and I would be less likely of seeing deer.  Then he added that there had been close to 300 deer/vehicle collisions in October so far.  That pretty much convinced me to stay until 8:30.  I was pleasantly surprised that traffic was fairly light, all things considered, and it only took me about an hour and a half to get to the Mississippi River.

    This brings me to something interesting that I have discovered.  After crossing that river 3 times in 2 days, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it was the scariest thing I have ever done on a motorcycle.  I know that you need to stay loose on the bars, and let the bike roll straight.  I know that you just have to stay loose and don't fight the wind. I also know that my entire body was relaxed....except for my toes....they had a death grip on the pegs, through my boots.  I also learned that if I look at the relation of the middle section of the handle bars to the part of my visor that meets the chin bar, I can gauge how heavy the cross wind is.  Shortly after that, I stopped looking at that......

    After my trip through Suburbia, TN today, I figured out how to spot vehicles that are just dangerous.  The more of those stupid stick figure kids on the back, the more room they need.  The more of the sport or cheerleading kid stickers, the more aggressive they tend to be.  On the whole, I am going to be glad to spend tomorrow on pretty deserted back roads all the way to Denton.  I plan on doing the Talimena Skyway, and shooting video.  Then I am just going to burn it all the way back to Denton.

Here is today's route:

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Have fun


Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall Road Trip Day 4

    Well, it seems like this road trip is a journey through my playlist also.  My garmin is on crack and it tends to play groups of songs over and over on shuffle.  It is still starting out with Crystal Method....same damn song.  Today was a journey through Frank Zappa, Neil Diamond, Queen Annes Lace, and Lady Gaga.  First let me say that when corrupted by road noise the song sounds like "Donna Noble, Patch in....Patch in."  Now I will have to Netflix Dr. Who tonight to reset my brain.  Frank Zappa while riding is just odd....The strange noises that he tends to use are very disturbing on motorcycles.  Lady Gaga.....where do I start?  When "Bad Romance" came on, I noticed that people were giving me lots of room and staring.....a whole lot.  Lesson learned, no dancing on the bike at 80mph......just say no....

    This has turned out to be a good scouting run.  I have found lots of places that I really want to bring everyone back to.  It is just freakin gorgeous up here.  I am finding it to be a bit lonely though.  it is a very stark reminder of just how Austin is.  I have run across no Friends of Dorothy.  I saw a few, but they would not make eye contact.  No stickers on cars, nothing. 

    I got a lot more thinking done today.  I still have no idea what I thought about, but I feel better, calmer, and lighter.  That means the trip is working.  There were a lot of wrong turns today, I mean a whole lot.  I only did 260 or so "map" miles, but there were a good 40 or so of wrong turns.  Pretty much all there was to do was to let go of it and roll.  I knew where the interstate was, and that it would take me to the hotel.  It was really a matter of not getting to go a couple places because I missed the turns and there was no clean way to get back.  I found some other real interesting places though.  There is no way to really get a picture of them, but there are two steel bridges, one across the Mississippi river, and then you take a right and you go across the Ohio river.  The spans are just over 1.9 lanes wide, and about 3/4 mile long each.  It was pretty awesome riding up and back down those big steel cages.  This brought me around to the idea that people would be happier if they could grasp the idea that there are no "Wrong Turns", just the other way of getting there.....sometimes with better scenery.

    Rumor has it that Memphis has a Starbucks.  I don't really care if I get coffee, I just want to speak to someone who is moderately intelligent, and not a backwoods conservative for about 5 min.....I will evwn buy a coffee as the price of admission.

I promised some video, here it is, but before the whiners start complaining that I crossed the double yellow, the camera is hanging off the left side of my tank.

Here goes:

And here is my route for the day:

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Road Trip Day 3

    The thought for the day is ABBA.  It just so happened that "Fernando" started playing right when I turned onto AR SH87.  It must have looked pretty funny from the outside watching me trying to hang onto the bike in those curves while dancing in my seat.  I actually had the entire road to myself due to some really interesting planning.  When you are riding in a state with a 100 to 1 church to school ratio, the best time to ride is Sunday morning between 8am and noon.

    The playlist pretty much dominated my thoughts today.  The music selection with the garmin on shuffle is only a bit annoying.  What I realized is that it resets every time you turn the garmin off.  It also starts every time on the same song.  I do like Crystal Method, but I got sick of hearing the same song every time I start the bike. I managed to cycle through my entire list of Queen, Abba, and Garth Brooks.  It was actually kind of creepy.

    I think the best thing about the ride today was that there was really no profound thoughts.  There is actually kind of a point of Zen where your brain does not retain much.  It basically processes information and then moves on.  It is really kind of interesting, I pretty much solved all of the problems in the world but I don't remember the answers. 

    Tomorrow night, I will be uploading the first couple videos, depending on the speed of the wifi at the next hotel.

Here is the route so far:

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Have fun


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall Road Trip Day 1-2

     After a year of big project, busy weekends, and just way too much stuff to do...the ride begins.  Getting out of Austin was a nightmare.  Between Austin and Denton I actually saw 4 wrecks.  That was 4 times where the traffic on I35 came to a halt.  I35 was a solid parking lot all the way from Waco to Hillsboro.  After talking to another rider at the Starbucks, I decided to go over to FM 933 and then TX 22 back over to 35 after Hillsboro.  At that point it was run like hell to Frisco.

    Next came the trek north.  I have pretty much decided that this is going to be a brain burner.  Basically I just want to see how far I can go.  The plan is to ride until I am done, or it is dark, every day.  Since I ended up having brunch with friends today, it was short.  I made it to Muskogee, OK.  The plan for tomorrow is to hit the trail of tears and then going NE.  Don't know how far yet, but I do plan on shooting some video.



Monday, May 21, 2012

Wandering aimlessly.....

     So, instead of daily updates this time around, I waited till the kind of middle of the trip. It has been a very nice trip so far. I had no plans overall, but I have had a really good time. I did end up in Arkansas. I decided to do a bit of scouting for a trip that The Kel and I are thinking about in a couple years.

     First off, I think I actually might have blown this cute little redneck mind. I was sitting next to my bike, looking at a good old fashioned paper map, and he walks up and asks if I am lost. I respond, no....I know where I am, I just don't know where I am going.......he looks at me and says "well, you are in Dardenelle..." I thank him and continue looking at my map. He then asks me where I think I might be going. I respond "I have no idea, but I have 4 more days to get there". He stares blankly at his feet for about a minute. Then he looks at me and asks if I have been to hot springs yet. I answer that I have a hotel room there. He says "Well, Hot Springs is right down that highway about 80 miles or so" and walks quietly to his truck and drives away. I really wanted to laugh, but then it dawned on me that there are so few people in the world that are just so inherently nice that they feel bad if they can't be helpful and I could possibly have just ruined his day.

     I have also managed to put my finger on the difference between the R1150 and the R90. While I was going up Mt Magazine today, with all of those really tight and fast curves, I noticed that there is a small delay between steering input and steering action. I really didn't notice it exactly before, but I had been on the R90 for a couple weeks, and then jumped on the 1150 and took off. It is really only noticable in real tight twisties but it was odd. Day one was a straight run up to Denton to see a friend of mine from college. She just got her MC license, and had her first wreck. A bruised knee and a broken finger later, she is now looking for her own motorcycle. This is just more proof that motorcyclists are either stubborn as hell, or downright dumb. Having taken that slide a couple times, I feel like I qualify for the latter. Later on that evening, I went to spend the night with other friends from college.

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Day two was a direct run up into Oklahoma. My original intent was to see how far north I could get before I lost interest, it turned into playing in the Ouachita Mountains. On the way out of Dallas, I stopped and visited my nieces. I thought they were going to explode when they saw me outside their house. It was a total surprise visit. After that, I rolled directly up US75 into Oklahoma. I made it into a little town called Mcalester around 5:30. I really did not plan to stay the night there, but the nearest hotel rich cities were two or more hours away, and it was saturday night. The last thing I wanted to do was get caught without a place to sleep in this area. All of the hotel parking lots I passed were filled with motorcycles, so I figured it would only get worse as I went on.

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Day three was a beating. watching the weather in Mcalester, I saw the great yellow and red "amoeba of doom" marching slowly across Oklahoma toward me. My plan was to get up at 5:30 and roll out at first light. Hopefully miss the storm. I left at 6:15 and the storm was visible in the west. I picked a fairly direct route, and very fun, to get to hot springs through Talihena, OK. I managed to stay almost exactly 25 miles ahead of the storm the whole way. If it wasn't for one wrong turn, I would have beat it by 50 miles. On the bright side I found a great dirt road that The Kel and I need to go back and visit. Ark 63a, no idea where it goes, but I bet we can find out..... Once I got through Mena, AR and over the Ouachita mountains, I was clear of the storm. It hit the mountains and turned north. I made it into Hot Springs much earlier than I had intended, and pretty exhausted. Checked into the hotel, scheduled a spa visit, and surfed.

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Day four has been great. Started the day with an 85 minute massage, and then rode up to Mount Magazine. I wanted to see what the area looked like because we are thinking about taking the Merry Band of Idiots up there for a trip at some point. Ark 7 is as much fun as I remember. Ark 309.....I had to stop halfway up and take a couple pictures. I did not have time to take a solid breath let alone look around. I was very busy with the very tight, very fast, changing elevation curves. I almost poo'd. Starting at Havana, AR at 480 foot elevation and going up to the top at 2300 foot or so was interesting. At the overlook, you are looking down on the town. I could not make out the gas station from there. I want to do it again. Maybe next time on the R90, that would be crazy.

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Ok, fallout time.  Getting up early and headed somewhere new tomorrow.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Texas Adventure Ride Day 1

     Today was the first day of TAR. The trip to the host hotel and check in. It was actually a very nice ride. I am spending the weekend as The Kel's monkey. Basically, that means I am navigating, acting as the reverse gear, and trying my damnedest to keep the sidecar's wheel on the ground. 

     Tomorrow we get to actually go out and bounce around the back roads of the hill country, but check in day has a charm all its own.  We pulled in about 3:00 in the afternoon.  We were pretty much the first people here.  That means we got to watch all of the other people get in.  The range of people showing up to the rally is amazing.  So fat I have seen everything from the LiFan 200cc Enduro bike, to the normal cast of characters....BMW, KTM, KLR.  Of course, everybody is riding the best bike.  The guys on the small bikes are going to bounce down the trails that are only a couple feet wide.  The guys on the midsize bikes are going to be running dirt roads and maybe some of the trails.  The guys on the Iron Pigs...they are here to go fast on the dirt and gravel roads.  The most humorous part of this whole dynamic is watching them arrive.  The 200 to 450 cc bikes normally show up on trailers.  The 450 to 650 cc bikes tend to ride short distance or trailer long distance.  The big ones tend to ride in.  There are still a few that kind of made us chuckle though.  The guy who rode his 450cc bike in from Colorado helped a guy unload his BMW R1200 GS from a trailer that he pulled down from Ft Worth.

     While standing outside this evening, I was looking at the parking lot.  It was interesting because the parking lot only looked about half full.  For a sold out hotel, it was kind of odd.  Then I realized that there were only 3 cars in the parking lot and the rest were bikes.  I have to say that the distribution of bikes in the parking lot looked kind of like a prison movie.  The big bikes were all fairly evenly spaced around the front of the lot, grouped by manufacturer.  At the back of the parking lot, clustered up at the back of the parking lot backed up against the fence

     Then there is the RV and mobile shop brought in by the CMA.  These guys rock.  The Christian Motorcyclist Association show up at Rallys and set up free hospitality and emergency repair areas just in case you need help.  They also help coordinate roadside rescues if you need it.

    Time to fall out, lots of riding tomorrow, hopefully there will be video and some pictures.