Well, I know I'm new, but I figured i'd start with one of my previous trips.....
This past November I found a Monster S4 in Columbus, Ohio..... Yes, in November. Temperatures were a high of 45 and a low of 27. I was going to ride home on a motorcycle, with no windshield, and no wind protection.... All the way to St. Petersburg, FL.
I purchased the motorcycle from a premier Ducati aftermarket parts manufacturer. This company used the bike as a show bike, and outfitted it with all the latest and greatest parts and used it a model. Well, it was now time to sell it, so they took off all the goodies, and put it back to factory stock. It only had 226 miles on it, and the price was good considering it was from a very reputable company, so having just sold my old Ducati, I bought this one.
I decided I would buy a one way ticket to Ohio, and just ride the thing 1000 miles home. In the back of my mind I knew this was stupid, and everytime I told someone what I was doing, they would further re-enforce what the sensible part of my brain had been telling me all along. I didnt care though, I'm young and pretty much and idiot, so I was going to do it anyways.
The day before my departure, I brought together all I was going to take with me. As you guys know VERY well, riding a motorcycle in cold weather is NOTHING like being in a car. We riders must do without certain luxuries.... First of all, there is no radio, there is no heat, you cant put your foot up on the dashboard. You sit there, try to stay warm, and sing to yourself every song you know, over, and over, and over again. Well, instead of telling you what I wore, here are some pictures so you can see for yourself what is needed to ride across the country in November:
For my head and feet, I wore an Underarmor hood, with some thick socks and some sweet sock liners.
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for my Torso, I relied on years of eating more than I should, and the beauty and magic of having fat on you. On top of that, I wore an Underarmor shirt, some military thermals, and my waterproof Moto Jacket.
For my legs, I let my natural defense work for me. I started off with my set of hair pants. For those of you who dont know what hair pants are, here you go:
Busted, I know you looked at my system....
On top of my hair pants, I wore some underarmor underwear and I wore two pairs of hanes thermal undies, a pair of jeans, and some Gore-tex wind/waterproof pants.
So the next morning I wake up at 7:15 and call Todd to take me to the airport, He shows up looking like he just got shot out of a cannon, I was almost embarrassed to stand next to the guy. But anyways,we stop so he can get a breakfast burrito and a lottery card, and of course he uses this time wisely to complain about being up so early. We get to the airport shortly afterwards, and he flicks me off as I get out, and then peels out and leaves.
As I'm on the plane, walking to my seat, I see who I have to sit next to, these girls looked like trouble. They looked at me with evil smiles and I thought "oh shit, here we go" and sat down. Immediately they took my picture and asked me to take a group photo with them. As soon as the plane took off, they started with the drinks. In no time, they had tons of empty bottles. I brought out my camera, and this was the result:
After the madness of the flight ended, one of the guys from the shop picked me up from the airport and took me to see my bike. They were putting some finishing touches on it, and here is what I saw:
Pretty hot huh?! Well, other than the yellow of course, which isn't going to stay for very long. Well, I examined the bike, and found out that the drive-chain was not to my liking, it was cut too long, and wasn't right. I told them twice about it, and was told it was fine, and that it was a new chain. Who was I to argue? Otherwise, I was happy as a puppy chewing up valuables.
I paid them, and decided to get going on my way. One of the guys at the shop offered me to stay the night at his house, He's the president of the Ohio Ducati club, and that a bunch of guys were coming over to wrench on their bikes and drink some beer. He said it was wayyyyy too cold to ride out, and that I wouldn't make it. So what do you guys think I did? Yes, of course, you know exactly what I did, I said "Thanks, but I'm going to go!"
So I put on all my gear and I'm off. After 20 miles, I start to feel pain… after 30 miles, I'm suffering… shit is it cold… after 40 miles I'm so excruciatingly cold I can no long feel my hands, nor operate the controls. I pull over and hug my muffler for warmth. After 10 minutes, I continue on, but the suffering doesn't subside, I was in real pain. At the 50 mile mark, I mentally gave up, and pulled over to a hotel. I asked for a room, and it was expensive, $70 expensive! But I didn't care…. I got into my room, and sat there.
As I warmed up, I started to come to my senses. First of all, my bike was outside in the middle of nowhere, if it got stolen, I'd be so fucked it wouldn't be funny. Secondly, I had only made it 50 miles! I had planned on doing nearly 500. I put all my clothes back on, (which is seriously a full 10 minute project, but the worst part are my gloves which take up most of that time) and went to the front desk and told the lady that I decided to keep on going, and she gave me my monay back.
I got to my bike and snapped a shot of it while it sat there in the cold, in case you were curious, this is what my bike looks like in 20 degree weather:
I got on the bike and realized that I didn't put my earplugs on. This might not seem like a big deal, but when you go over long distances with no earplugs you will get a NASTY headache. (at least I do) Frustrated, I rode to the nearest gas station to do the task. This meant that I had to take off my gloves, take off my helmet, take off my hood, and put in my earplugs, and then put it all back on. This seriously took 10 minutes, No lie.
So I get back on the highway, and as soon as I'm on the highway, my gas light comes on… FUCK. Now I have to stop, take off my fucking gloves, and do it again. So the next exit comes along, and the whole ordeal takes place again. I was just at a gas station doing this!!!
So after I get gas and back on the highway again, the temperature is at the mid 20's That might not seem so bad, but try doing that at 65mph with no windshield, no fairings, no handguards, nothing…. It was unbearable. I tried to fight it, and tried to fight it, but the cold was seeping in from everywhere, I was shivering on the bike, and at the same time, I lost feeling in my hands. The throttle, brakes and clutch are all hand-operated on a motorcycle, so you can imagine how important it is to have your hands doing what your brain tells it to do.
Every 10 minutes, I pulled off on the side of the road, and re-warmed myself. I was moving at a snails pace and I had only just started. How was I going to do the full 1000 miles if I cant even go 10 miles without having to stop and heat up. After another 50 miles I could no longer withstand the cold, I was truly defeated. I saw a billboard for a $40 room at the next exit, and took it. I show up at the motel and ask how much a room is, and they tell me $60, so I tell them about the billboard, and they say "what billboard?" so I tell them again about the billboard on the highway, this time with my stink eye in full force, and they're like "ooooh, THAT billboard" so I got the price.
Still shivering from the cold, I walked into my room and collapsed near the heater and cried.
After 15 minutes of acting like a baby, I started to heat up this is how I looked:
At this point, I was getting warm, and starting to smile a little:
All that smiling caused me to wonder…. How do I look like when I'm serious? Well, I found out:
After running the full range of emotions in less than half an hour, I started to lose it:
After I regained my sanity, I realized that I hadn't eaten anything for 24 hours. I decided to treat myself to some Cracker Barrel, so I braved the cold and went down the street to the Barrel. It always has a warm fire, and on top of that, I can beat their crafty little game. I get so pleased with myself every time I do it, and i'm quite a snob about it.
Here is a picture the waitress took of me. I demanded she take a picture of me or i'd offend her sensibilities, and here was the result:
In case you guys were wondering, this is what my bike looks like when its parked in front of a Cracker Barrel:
After I got back to the hotel room, I parked the bike inside, Nobody was going to take my buddy!
The next morning, bright and early at 8am, I woke up, and took a hot shower. In case you guys are wondering what I look like when I shower, here you go:
Ummm.... I removed this picture..... Don't worry... I did you guys a favor!
After I was done, I put on my undies, and ran outside to take this picture for everyone:
After eating some continental breakfast, I put on my gear and I was off again! This time I would be ready to get this trip going. I went to a gas station to fill up before I left, I grabbed some poor kid to take a picture of me next to my bike:
Here's a picture of said kid. I don't think he likes yellow, I think it's a pretty nice color:
Here is where things get a bit blurry. Because the sun was now out, I was able to ride until I was out of gas. Lets get one thing straight though, It was still 30-40 degrees out, and while I wasn't in severe pain, I was still very, very cold. My next stop was somewhere in Kentucky, Here is me trying to get my temperature up again:
As I got back on the road, I saw some beautiful sights, and decided to stop on the side of the road to see one… I know you guys are dying to know how my bike looks like in Tennessee, so here you go:
Here is the view I was talking about
At this point, the batteries of my camera were about to die, so I decided to save them. About an hour later, I saw a sign saying "scenic view, 1 mile" "well, damn, I wanna see a scenic view" I thought to myself. So the scenic view area was like a tiny rest stop, no facilities, just the view, So I pulled off. Enjoyed the beauty, it was gorgeous, way better than the picture shown above. I didn't wanna unpack everything for this picture, though I should have, so I decided to start up the bike and get going. I then fired up the bike. As I idled I thought to myself "its warmer now, the sun is out, and I haven't yet tested how fast this bike is, So instead of merging slowly into traffic like old people do, I twisted the throttle, and let her rip. As I sped up to about 80-90mph I heard a BANG! CRACK! And I suddenly lost power. Cars and trucks zoomed by me as I pulled off to the side of the road……