Welcome back, fans of everything Pennsylvania. Here's a brief thread bump/update and a few photos showing my mAd RyDiNg SkIlLz, Y0!
A few weeks ago, I get a PM from inmate Klrdar saying he recently bought Kawasaki's finest motorcycle but is having trouble finding fun places to ride it. He's read some of my posts and figures I would be some kind of great tour guide to Places Unpaved. I agree to help him waste a day trying to get his too-clean bike dirty and plan a ride up to Bald Eagle based on a route I did a year ago that I kept on file. I go into the map program and tweak it a little (mistake) and we agree to meet up early Saturday morning. As my vast fan base of two or three of you know, I generally have ridden solo on my adventures but have been thinking a riding buddy would be a wise idea, since some of the places I ride are pretty remote, and I ride a motorcycle constructed in 1989. Talking to Klrdar on the phone and emailing him revealed what appeared to be a compatible riding partner, but I had a concern. I kid you not, his first name is....
I'm sure the poor guy has been teased enough in his life by others, so I won't dogpile on him here, but it's one of those things that makes you go
. For those who don't see the significance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_Awards
Unfortunately, I'm on kind of a schedule today because my wife has scheduled a dinner with friends that evening and would prefer I at least pass through the shower stall at home before we go out. So there is a noticeable lack of photos for this trip. But we've got a few.
We ride up to the area, a pretty decent ride on half slab and half two lane to get us to this oft photographed overlook. Nothing quite completes the beauty of a scenic overlook like a KLR, and we've got two for your visual enjoyment:
While standing there enumerating the endless merits of the KLR, I spot this guy crawling nearby:
Looks quite a bit like a Wooly Bear http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrrharctia_isabella
which are common around here, but if he is he's albino. Folklore suggests that a Wooly Bear can predict the severity of winter by the ratio of brown to black on his 'hair'. I've no clue what an all-white one means. Perhaps the Mayans are right? This is actually an Armageddon Caterpillar? Who cares? It's too nice of a day to worry about such things. Let's ride.
During our initial introduction earlier, I make the fatal error of mentioning to my riding partner that I've not dropped my bike while on it (letting it fall in the driveway while lubing the chain to me doesn't really count). I'm certain that it's because I'm mature
(old), and I have developed proficient motorcycling skills
(that's what the cover of the book I read says). So, sure enough, shortly thereafter I cook it into a hairpin a little too hot, get in the loose crap at the outside, and at about 5 mph test out my gear:
Oh yeah, the gear. About that...
As a race car driver (of absolutely no success whatsoever, but I have fun), I'm big on safety equipment. Entering the ADV world, I was willing to embrace the concept of ATGATT, and pieced together a decent (if color mismatched) ensemble of head to toe coverage mostly via the Flea Market section of this fine site. With one exception. Summer riding pants never found their way into my wardrobe, so I relied on my reliable friends at Well Worn Wranglers to cover my legs.
Yeah, that didn't work out so well.
You can sort of see here the nice hole that instantly was made the minute denim touched down onto loose gravel. My knee lost an appropriate amount of cosmetic covering (skin) but it was conveniently covered shortly thereafter by attractive blobs of dried blood. In all seriousness, this decidedly inconsequential off did just enough damage to drive home that you are a moron if you ride with anything less than ATGATT.
There is simply no excuse. This little flesh wound in no way would compare to something that would happen if I had gone down any faster or on any harder surface. I cringe just thinking about it.
the rest of the day inside my helmet.
Upside is I finally have a photo of a sleeping KLR to post in the "KLR Photos" section.
After lunch in Millheim (a town devoid of rest rooms with paper towels) we head out on segment two to return home. Very shortly afterwards I find my 'tweaking' of the route has sent us up a untraveled trail that, if open the entire way, will take us hours to navigate. Several failed attempts at getting around this bottleneck burn up too much time and we wind up slabbing it back home in time for me to bandage my wound (my spouse has a decidedly gleeful "I told you so" moment pouring alcohol into my destroyed knee), make myself presentable and make the dinner appointment.
To his credit, Klrdar has not killed me and, in fact, has engineered a KLR transport system for his truck so that we can avoid the slab portions of the ride for our next outing.
My new summer pants with armor should be here any day.