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Old 07-17-2013, 12:26 PM   #1
Hondarider OP
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MA to CO and Back: The Anti-Adventure Ride

I've been debating about the worthiness of this RR for the past couple weeks and finally decided that it might contain just enough merit to appeal to a reader considering the same journey. It's not like we crossed the Darien Gap or roosted through Africa with Charley Boorman...just 2 middle aged guys with a week to kill and a desire to live a little. The trip was in June and I'm just now getting around to writing about it now. Please keep this in mind as you offer to let me crash on your couch. This is a past tense kinda story.

So, as I imagine is the case for most New Englanders, I spend the long cold winters studying the atlas, reading ride reports, and fantasizing about where I might go once the snow melts. When I'm not researching, I'm fiddling in the garage on my 09 GSA and trying to achieve that perfect balance between ultimate preparedness and morbid motorcycle obesity. I'm an obsessive over-packer and will fixate on the most ridiculously unlikely roadside disasters...until the bike weighs 900 lbs and I'm no longer able to push it around the garage. I had the same tendencies as a Boy Scout - often packing so much in my ruck that I couldn't hoist it to my back without assistance. Clearly I haven't kicked the habit.

By April, I had settled on the notion of riding solo from Massachusetts to San Francisco and back over the course of 11-14 days. I hoped to earn the IB Saddle Sore on the way out with a quick 1015 miles to Davenport, IA on day 1 and then stay with family and friends in Colorado, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco along the way. I picked a few "must see" roads and sites along the way and marked out my route on a giant laminated wall map in my office. I blocked out the time on my calendar and started counting the days.

OK...little bit about me...it may help the context of the story at some point...40 years old...husband...father of 2 (ages 9 and 11)...engineering manager for a defense contractor...Army veteran (not the exciting Johnny Rambo kind - more the fixing electronics kind - not nearly as awesome, but proud nonetheless)...amateur machinist, welder, mechanic, adult movie actor, and carpenter...lifelong motorcycle enthusiast (not the scary fast kind or the dress like a pirate kind - more the spending way too much time reading about them in magazines and forums kind)...bald...20lbs overweight...anal retentive...overly talkative...trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Or at least I try...

Back to the longest prologue to a Ride Report in the history of motorcycle forums...

So here I am, I've got a route planned out on the wall, I've got vacation blocked out on the calendar, a supportive wife, and an able motorcycle. I'm ready to roll. Quick note about my awesome wife. She has this amusing notion that seems to be uncommon amongst the wives of my friends. She has this stranmge desire not to be the thing that stands between me and what I want to do in this life. As unlikely as it sounds, she is preoccupied with the idea that at some point in my life, I may look back and say "I really wanted to do _______, but my wife wouldn't let me go." She absolutely doesn't want to be the person that ever hindered my ability to live this life to the fullest measure possible. Crazy...huh? Most of my friends' wives seem to revel in their ability halt a good time before it even gets started. A quick beer after work with the boys or 9 holes of golf on Friday afternoon are strictly verboten - get your a$$ home - you've got chores to do! Poor things...a week on the road, riding a motorcycle, is about as likely as visiting the moon. They are sad creatures.

Coming Soon...The Actual Ride Report

Hondarider screwed with this post 08-31-2013 at 04:11 PM
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:37 PM   #2
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cool...I am just below you in CT..and can't wait to do a ride like that..
Travel safe..
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:28 PM   #3
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OK...so its May by now and most of the people I know are aware of my upcoming trip. Most cannot believe my wife is letting me go. There seems to be a lot of chatter about it in my office. Us nerdy engineers rarely get out of the labs; let alone ride solo across the country on a motorcycle. The mere thought of it seems to be generating quite a stir. I'm like the Ted Simon of my dorky little corner of the world.

So then about mid-May, one of my buddies, M!ke, comes strolling into my office and is perusing my map...he rides a Victory Vegas...a fun bike for around town...loud pipes...chrome...giant front wheel...not much in the way of creature comforts...typical cruiser bike. Conversation goes something like this...

"So, you getting ready for your big trip?"

"Pretty close; fresh oil change, new rain suit, packing list, and new tires before I leave "

"Huh...sounds pretty cool"

"Yup"

"I've never taken a long motorcycle trip"

"That's too bad, you should do it someday"

"Yeah, I've got a lot of vacation time saved up"

"Nice"

"I'm still sitting on the money I was going to use fo rmy garage"

"Good for you, you should spend it on something fun or getting going on the garage."

"How far are you going?"

"6 or 7 thopusand miles I expect; unless something bad happens"

"So you're going by yourself?"

"That's the plan."

So we dance around like this for a few minutes...maybe longer. The entire time we're talking, I'm doing the math in my head of what it would likely mean for my planned trip to bring a guy on a cruiser bike, who has never rode more than 200 miles in a day, doesn't have the strongest interest in geography or motorcycle mechanics, and is not exactly my perfect match when it comes to schedule and general lifestyle. I keep the small talk going as long as I can while I try to figure out a WAY OUT that won't negatively affect our friendship.

Hondarider screwed with this post 08-31-2013 at 04:11 PM
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:14 PM   #4
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After a few more minutes of "Geez, I've always wanted to take a motorcycle trip", I decided to throw caution to the wind and sign on with a guy who I was sure would hate me before the trip was over. I thought it would at least make for a funny story or two.

Word of our upcoming trip spread like wildifre. All sorts of questions about our sexuality...References to movies by Ang Lee...Photo-shopped pictures of the two of us dressed like pirates astride Easy Rider style choppers...infractions to just about every HR policy ever written.

Now I start thinking about how the ride is going to play out. There's no way Mike is going to ride a cruiser to California and back, on highways, for his first real road trip. He might be able to do it, but I expect he won't be much fun as a travelling companion. He'll probably be miserable. I start thinking about other possible destinations. He's never taken a big trip on a bike so the possibilities are relatively endless. I suspect that as much as I hate riding on the interstate, he's going to hate it a great deal more on his bike. So where to go with a week of travel and not too much highway? Where could we go that is manly enough to stop all of the crude comments and innuendo in the office? What screams out tough and rugged? I assume we all know the answer....

Key West, Florida of course.

Hondarider screwed with this post 08-31-2013 at 04:12 PM
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:37 PM   #5
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:43 PM   #6
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PREPARATION

This is generally my favorite part of any trip...the mental exercise of trying to prepare for any eventuality...the anticipation of hitting the road...the making of lists. One of life's greatest joys is creating, refining, reviewing, and ultimately perfecting my packing list...did I mention anal retentive? I packed the bike, repacked, inventoried, balanced, and diagramed. In then end, it all came down to a simple little 2-sided laminated card that contained the sum total of months of preparation...







I was beside myself with joy when M!ke was silly enough to ask if I had a packing list and I presented him with this bad boy.

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Old 07-17-2013, 02:48 PM   #7
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There are actually 2 sides to the card...not sure if this was the complete version...just checked to see if it was still on my computer.


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Old 07-17-2013, 02:51 PM   #8
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Oh this is gonna be good. I thought I was bad taking my friend who never even had a bike license until 2 months ago to Labrador. At least we know each and get along.

This has the makings of a reality show.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondarider View Post
PREPARATION

This is generally my favorite part of any trip...the mental exercise of trying to prepare for any eventuality...the anticipation of hitting the road...the making of lists. One of life's greatest joys is creating, refining, reviewing, and ultimately perfecting my packing list...did I mention anal retentive? I packed the bike, repacked, inventoried, balanced, and diagramed. In then end, it all came down to a simple little 2-sided laminated card that contained the sum total of months of preparation...







I was beside myself with joy when Mike was silly enough to ask if I had a packing list and I presented him with this bad boy.
-1 for not alphabetizing the list
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Hondarider View Post
[FONT=Comic Sans MS] adult movie actor
Just checking to see if we were paying attention?
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Old 07-17-2013, 05:33 PM   #11
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I said "amateur"...seemed plausible.
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Old 07-17-2013, 06:00 PM   #12
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After a few days of laugh's at the expense of M!ke's new visor, I was really starting to think that this thing might not be much during prolonged highway riding. Sure, I was planning to stay off the highways as much as possible on our way to Florida...riding the Blue Ridge Parkway from end to end and taking backroads through South Carolina and Georgia, but what if our plans changed at the last minute due to weather? What if we found ourselves trying to make up some hours by hopping on the super-slab? What if it just rains and rains? Mike's lack of preparedness was keeping me up nights. Have I mentioned that I'm a Type A Obsessive Control Freak Nut Job?

So I was sitting in M!ke's office a couple days before our planned departure and discussing preparations. Once again, I voiced my concerns about the world's lamest windshield. I told Mike that I was going to buy one for his bike, strap it to the back of mine, and then sell it to him at twice the cost in some hotel parking lot 2000 miles from home. At very least, I was adding a big piece of cardboard and some duct tape to my packing list so that we could fab up a windshield on the fly. Of course, that meant printing and laminating more load plans...

At that point, M!ke finally admitted that the little windshield was total shit and did absolutely nothing. After the hour ride to the dealership, he knew he was screwed and opted to order a real windshield from Memphis Shades. It was already mounted on the bike and he was ready to go. He just wasn't planning to tell me until the morning we left. Prick!

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Old 07-18-2013, 05:58 AM   #13
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So its 6JUN13, everything is packed, bikes are freshly serviced, and the GPS is programmed with a scenic route from Massachusetts to Key West Florida. My plan is to depart promptly at 6:00AM on 7JUN13. M!ke assures me that he will still be in bed when I arrive at his house that morning.

Now our office has a surprising number of amateur meteorologists...I guess you get that with nerdy engineers who live for launching things into space...and they've been tracking the weather all along our route for weeks. They actually had a large white board with daily weather maps and predictions for just how miserable we were likely to be. Apparently south Florida in June can be hot and sticky. Honestly, these guys were way more excited about this trip than either Mike or I. So, on the morning before departure, someone had plotted a giant map and posted it for all to enjoy along with helpful little notes about high winds, flooding, and riders being crushed by falling trees.



I called my father in Florida and he said that they were expecting a solid week of rain. I checked a bunch of news reports about Tropical Storm Andrea and it looked bleak. By Thursday afternoon, it was time for a command decision. I went to Mike's office and told him to pack a warm jacket and gloves - we're headed west to COlorado.

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Old 07-18-2013, 06:16 AM   #14
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Great ride report so far (and the ride hasn't even started, haha)! Your writing is very entertaining. I'll definitely be following along. Us Massholes have to stick together.
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:16 AM   #15
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Yeah, love it! Funny, and entertaining. Everyone knows a "Mike", and can identify. This should be good.
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