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Old 11-03-2013, 06:43 PM   #46
JEC OP
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Originally Posted by abhi View Post
Did you shoot the videos also with the same camera?
Yep... And those videos were originally 1080p!
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:50 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by JEC View Post
Nothing special. Canon ELPH 330 I bought just before I left. Works pretty well for a point and shoot.

I don't have any posters.

Thanks.. I've been considering buying a new camera.. I believe I know what I'll shop around for.

I prefer your wall hanging to my poster any day ..
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:19 AM   #48
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First, forgive me for my lack of eloquence as it's 4 am and I have a teething infant with a head cold...

As we get into the chilly and darker parts of the year and I find myself with less available riding time, I find myself making my annual foray back to ADV to live vicariously through other riders until at least snowmobile season begins. Interestingly enough, as I have gotten older, I find that less and less catches my attention from a writing perspective that really "hooks" me and I find myself speed reading through quite a few ride reports to pick up the gist of what is happening (a useful skill for an English major with an advisor that would make the slave drivers at the Pyramids of Giza cringe). Not a lot makes me slow down and really hang on each word.

Your writing is one of those styles that makes me pause and, in some cases, look back earlier to see where little hints tie into the bigger picture. Some complained about the lack of photographs earlier; I need to respectfully disagree with those folks. The additional pictures are already absolutely there, however, they are painted with words rather than through photography. I am thoroughly enjoying your report and look forward to others. Absolutely fantastic!

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Originally Posted by iDave View Post
This thread deserves its own sticky, due solely to your great writing, JEC. Keep it coming!
High praise indeed from someone who has earned the well deserved reputation (at least to this humble reader) as a master of writing ride reports and of telling magnificent stories with but a single photograph!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JEC View Post
It's not the first time, and it won't be the last. The worst I experienced on a previous trip was getting to Woodstock, NY with the engine cutting out violently. It was like hitting a rev limiter if you gave it any more than 5 degrees of throttle. I couldn't figure it out - so I rode it home to Montreal that way, unable to pass cars and accelerating at a glacial pace. 275 miles in literal limp-home mode.

That was the first time the coolant temp sensor gave out.

I've learned to not worry, which is the key to touring with a 916. I have a determination to see things through that negates the spectre of breaking down, and break down it will. Like I said in part I, I am not an apologist who pretends issues are nonexistent, because I'm not delusional and I've dealt with a shit ton of problems. But as long as the engine internals haven't made a break for daylight I can deal with it on the road.
I am slightly off to the west on the way back north (between Syracuse and Utica so literally the exact center of NY State) so if that (or anything else) happens at any point again and you need some place to which to limp, drop me a PM and I will be glad to give you a place to take a breath before continuing on. Or, if nothing is breaking and you feel the need to kick the motorcycle gods in the balls and have a beer to celebrate, I am open to that as well .
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:23 AM   #49
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Great! Supersport like touring motocycle! I like this!
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:25 PM   #50
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Thanks guys, I really do appreciate the feedback. I was nervous posting this up on here - I'm not a hardcore touring rider and I was afraid I'd end up looking like a complete jello butt newbie coming on here and sharing my story.

Moving on:
Part VIII

http://www.odd-bike.com/2013/11/oddb...hilosophy.html

----



Ducati 916 motorcycle in Louisiana palm trees



Part VIII of the OddBike USA Tour Travelogue. Click here for Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VI and Part VII.



Sunday morning is another beautiful day in Birmingham. Attendees of the Vintage Festival were blessed with three perfect days of weather: 80-90 degree temperatures with blue skies and low humidity. Barring our spark-plug-fouling gridlock adventure on Saturday morning I was never uncomfortable. The dread of riding north into cooler weather was starting to dawn on me.



I wake up early to do my laundry and scribble down some notes for the previous two days. Saturday had been such an intense, whirlwind day that I never had the opportunity to stop and (literally) collect my thoughts, so I took the time to put my experiences on paper while they were still fresh in my mind. It still felt unreal and scarcely believable that I met so many interesting people and experienced so much in the course of a single day. I truly believe it will remain one of the most memorable days of my life. But I sincerely hope it isn't - better things await in the future. It's a line of thought that will become important over the next few days.









Ducati 916 and Yamaha XS400 motorcycles



Winslow invites me to breakfast with his friends at Waffle House. A fixture at offramps across the USA, Waffle House is pretty much what you’d expect: a cheap, greasy breakfast diner. It is the sort of place that is packed with locals nursing hangovers on a Sunday morning, members of our group included. I order a gummy waffle the size of my face with a side of obscenely greasy bacon, served with corn syrup and artificial butter. Not margarine - fake butter. I've never seen such nonsense at a restaurant before. I vocally lament the lack of legitimate maple syrup south of the border but the others don’t seem to get it. Spot the Canuck.




Motorcycles at Waffle House Birmingham Alabama



I decide to skip the Festival today and head straight for New Orleans, passing my Sunday ticket along to Winslow to dispose of as he saw fit. It was to be a 400-mile day on the road and I find the prospect of riding after dark disconcerting, especially in an unfamiliar city. I have terrible night vision and the lights on a 916 are somewhere between kerosene lantern and three Maglights with weak batteries taped together on the candlepower scale. The main beam is so worthless that it is virtually invisible in daylight, so I ride with the high beam on at all times just to be somewhat visible to other drivers. I've never understood the American propensity to drive with no running lights at all, and then bitch about mandatory lighting. I'd rather be noticed as much as possible on the road to lessen the possibility of some absent minded dolt running into me. Maybe that's the result of riding a bike in Montreal for 8 years, where I'm constantly threatened by absent minded dolts who are also aggressive vehicular sociopaths.



I hit the road around 11 am. Today's ride is boring. I pass through the remainder of Alabama and then cut through Mississippi, stopping only for a quick lunch and gas along the way. I will forever remember Mississippi for having the single worst Wendy's in the history of fast food, but not much else. The landscape has flattened out now, the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina having progressed into the hills of Georgia and Alabama and now the flat swampland of the Gulf coast. The vegetation changes noticeably as well - from dense, overgrown forest into shrubby bayou as you near Louisiana. The progression of the landscape makes me realize just how far I have traveled. I left the Great White North in near freezing temps a week ago and now I'm sweating it out within spitting distance of the Gulf of Mexico.



The Interstates of Mississippi are dull, with the least appealing rest stops I encountered anywhere on my journey. It’s long, boring rides like this that allow me to formulate my ideas, sketching out the themes of my writing in my mind. Or maybe that’s just how I console myself for enduring many hours of straight, dull as fuck Interstate over the course of this trip. “At least I got lots of quiet contemplation done.” Next time I do a trip like this I’m going to allow myself more time to explore the sideroads along the way.




Louisiana Coast



I enter Louisiana and reach the coast of the Pontchartrain, an inland river connected to the Gulf of Mexico. Suddenly I feel at home. This is a setting I’m familiar with: marshland and flat sandy beaches surrounded by cottages and fishing communities. I grew up in rural New Brunswick, near the seaside town of Shediac. I am immediately reminded of the landscape of my youth, of time spent playing on beaches, of the sandy ground extending inland blanketed with thick marsh grasses. My heritage is Acadian, from the same French lineage as the local Cajuns (“Acajun”). I’m struck by how our common ancestors, thrown to the winds par Le Grand Dérangement, ended up resettling in such similar locales at different ends of the continent. It’s an eerie realization that is accompanied by a strong sense of deja vu, one that is only disrupted by the presence of palm trees. We don’t have those in Shediac.




Louisiana Coast



Driving along I-10 into downtown New Orleans I spot countless boarded-up buildings and empty, overgrown parking lots. Dilapidated and collapsing properties dot the landscape. It is immediately clear that the scars of hurricane Katrina are still present, eight years after the storm. The modern skyline rising above the city contrasts with the signs of destruction and destitution that are visible from the freeway above the city.



I roll off the Interstate and get lost in a rough looking neighbourhood that exhibits more evidence of Katrina. Poverty is omnipresent and permeates the scene. This is what we Canadians are unused to seeing when we head south of the border. This is what inspires those Mad Max nightmares of getting mugged and shot by roving bands of miscreants, just waiting for an innocent Dudley or Deborah Do Right to stumble into their trap. Canadian cities are homogeneous and largely gentrified. Poor areas might have simpler architecture, a bit less maintenance done to the infrastructure, a couple fewer Starbucks locations. But here it is different; the gaps between the wealthy and the poor areas are extreme and immediately visible. The transitions between good and bad 'hoods are stark and impossible to miss. It’s hard to find the words to describe why this is apparent but upon arriving it becomes immediately clear. I was on edge riding through these depressed areas, exhausted from a day's ride, desperately scanning for my destination. I wasn't scared, but I did not want to be there either.



I make my way into the French Quarter, mere blocks away from the rough area I entered through, and the difference is staggering. Within the span of a few hundred yards you go from boarded up and collapsing buildings to stunning colonial architecture and lush greenery surrounding picturesque streets full of eclectic bars and restaurants. Within minutes I begin to see the appeal of living here in the French Quarter, and I start to understand why JT is so fiercely proud of this city. But I can’t shake the unease of seeing the two extremes laid out before me within the span of a few blocks.




Ducati 916 motorcycle French Quarter New Orleans



I park the 916 in front of the Studio, a simple two-story building on the edge of the French Quarter. JT hasn’t arrived yet. Earlier he had recommended I stop at Checkpoint Charlie’s down the street. I discover it to be a dark, mercifully air-conditioned dive bar on the corner of Esplanade and Decatur, just the place to sit down and cool off. I am exhausted, my shirt soaked with sweat, my hair matted into a perfect helmet-head coif - I am in no condition to impress anyone so a dark, no-pretenses bar is just the ticket for me. I dump my luggage at a table and order a beer. The Saints are playing the Patriots on the TVs hung overhead and the game dominates the attention of the patrons. A mix of interesting locals populates the bar, all engaged in intense discussions of life, philosophy and football. I learn pretty quickly it is quite easy to spot whom the locals were: they are the eclectic mix of tattooed bohemians who appear more or less in control of their faculties. The tourists are the fat, pasty Midwesterners stumbling sideways down the middle of the street with plastic go-cup in hand.




Checkpoint Charlie's New Orleans French Quarter



I settle in and start taking my notes for the day. I like bars like these. No bullshit. Cheap booze and food. Always populated by interesting people. They might seem seedy and intimidating to an outsider or a person weaned on nouveau-riche trust-fund baby nightclubs, but they are often the most friendly and welcoming joints out there. They lack the phony, contrived pretenses of the haute-bar scene. I once found the flash and trappings of those wealthy haunts appealing, until I got to know the people who frequented them and began to see through the façade. Years of working in the “Luxury” business have taught me that brands, places or people that cater/aspire to an image of luxury are not authentic. Places like Checkpoint Charlie’s are.




Ducati motorcycle in French Quarter New Orleans



It makes me realize how much I hate my day job. But that is a lament for another day and another venue.



I spot JT wheeling the Legacy out of a trailer across the street. I gather up my gear and head over. JT lives in the Studios, which is an open space that is more artist’s loft than garage. Pass through a glass façade and you'll encounter a heavily modified Harley flathead bobber, a Bimota SB8R, and the Magnolia Special.




Bienville Studios Magnolia Special



I had hoped the Special would be here. It is a staggering accomplishment, a beautiful neoclassical car built from scratch and powered by an alternative fuel that JT drove across the United States. But he seems almost embarrassed that I’m enamored by it. I’m here to talk bikes, why would I be interested in that thing? I don’t press any further. I will learn soon enough that he is a man who is always looking forward, not backwards at his previous work.




Bimota SB8R Motorcyle



While all the equipment and tools you'd expect in a builder's shop are present, there are a few details that distinguish Bienville Studios. Upstairs you’ll find a living area with a couple of spartan bedrooms. The shop is dusty and moderately chaotic but relatively well organized and filled with interesting objects, at least compared to the places I've worked. One rack is piled with spare parts and mockups from the Legacy. A lone Moto Guzzi twin sits on a stand in a corner. A bookshelf loaded with design yearbooks, pictorial histories, and art compendiums sits in the corner. Not the typical objets you’d expect in a run-of-the-mill garage. Instead of girlie posters the walls are littered with paintings, sketches and a few prints. Several of the artworks show a recurring pattern of interlocking circles and horizontal lines – this is JT’s design touchstone, his “circles and lines” framework. A pair of antiquated looking machines hang from the rafters, scarcely more than heavy-framed bicycles. One has a tiny single-cylinder engine. They are Simplexes, and they serve as symbols of two things: local industry, and what happens to those who fail to innovate. These are two important themes in JT’s work: he is fiercely loyal to New Orleans and he is always trying to innovate.




Simplex Motorcycle Bienville Studios



The bathroom is, however, exactly what you would expect in a garage. I had been warned about that bathroom by one of JT’s friends. "It couldn't be that bad" I thought.



It was that bad.



I was half tempted to go to the corner store and buy a case of bleach and disinfectant, just to lessen the Lovecraftian horror in store for the next poor soul who had to make use of the facilities. Fortunately we had more pressing matters to attend to.



We head over to one of JT's favourite haunts, Molly's At The Market on Decatur. He buys me an unidentified JT-special, a tall drink that is definitely of the sneak-up-behind-you-and-club-you-with-an-iron-fist-in-a-velvet-glove variety, and slaps a pack of Camels onto the table in front of me. Fuck. I'm an ex-smoker, free of the vice for just over a year. This is probably the last place in North America you can still smoke in bars ("Last bastion of freedom" according to JT), which makes it a bad place to be for a reformed smoker like myself. But I maintain my will, decline the smokes, and start drinking.




French Quarter New Orleans



We discuss life, motorcycle, and OddBike. JT is an intense, passionate individual - opinionated and not afraid to express his views. He is very intelligent and extremely perceptive. He is idealistic and refuses to compromise on his values, and has nothing but disdain for those who do. If you've read his more outspoken commentaries you already have an small indication of his intensity. It is not an internet-tough-guy routine that evaporates in real-life encounters. He really is that honest and direct, and he is not afraid to call people out on their bullshit.



Chatting with him as the night progresses I realize he has high hopes for my writing, as well as where OddBike can go in the future. This intimidates me. As I sit here in Molly’s and nurse my whiskey-somethingorother I suddenly dread that I won't live up to his expectations. I am a simple, young, freelance writer who has a dull day job and a passion for bikes. I'm still green and I lack experience. He throws some intense motorcycle-related philosophy at me and it sails clear over my head, my comprehension dulled by the booze.



By the end of my second drink my willpower has broken and I grab a cigarette. I immediately regret the decision, even in my tipsy state. I vow in my head that I would only cheat for this night, in this place, in this situation. When else will I have the opportunity to get drunk in New Orleans with one of the most famous motorcycle designers of our generation? Of course that calculated rationalization came later. At that moment my line of thinking was "fuckit to hell, I want a cigarette." And goddamned if it wasn't the most magnificent, head-lightening, nerve-easing smoke I've had since I first picked up the habit 9 years ago.




French Quarter New Orleans



I think JT was waiting for me to snap. I'm more relaxed now. I spend most of the evening listening, taking in the ideas he is throwing my way. I make no attempts to pretend to understand when he begins to lose me. As we both get progressively more smashed I quickly learn that he is man of many facets, far more than I had previously imagined. I will note I am piecing together the details after the fact, many elements having disappeared into the cloudy haze of a night of drinking, so apologies to JT if I missed anything important. I do recall that despite his purity of vision, he appreciates and enjoys a wide variety of bikes in terms of performance and design. He isn’t a snob - he appreciates good design wherever it may emerge. He adores the Yamaha R6, and would love to own a first-generation Suzuki GSX-R 1100. He has a deep respect for old British bikes and ran a Triumph dealership for two years. He wrote for Iron Horse magazine under the editorship of David Snow, a man who he credits with nurturing modern chopper culture (the legitimate, hands-on culture - not the phony OCC commercial bullshit). He has done a little bit of everything, and he speaks of his experiences with enthusiasm and passion.



He exhibits nothing but contempt for Soichiro Honda, a man who he deems a “destroyer”. Honda dominated the industry by crushing his contemporaries, in particular the British, when he could have helped them and developed a relationship of mutual advancement. He refused to share technology or expertise and mercilessly eliminated his competitors from the market. He asks why. Would it not have been better if both had existed side by side? Like many of JT’s thoughts it is perhaps an idealistic view, but it reveals a philosophy of motorcycles as being something more than digits on a spreadsheet.    



At some point in the evening he asks me what my favourite OddBike article is. I pause and think for a moment. Well it would probably be my first one, the Bimo- “Nope, wrong answer. Try again.” I dunno, I suppose I’m quite proud of the Nemb- “No. Do you want to know the answer?” He tells me how Alan Cathcart had asked Pierre Terblanche and Miguel Galuzzi what their favourite design was during a charity dinner at the Barber Museum on Friday. They too got it wrong. The best article (or the best motorcycle design, such as the case may be) “is the next one.” You must always look forward. It’s a point he repeats over and over. You may look to the past, and you may respect it, but you must not be determined by it.



By this time we are both properly drunk. We leave Molly’s to seek out food. JT takes me to a nearby restaurant, Mojo, where I have a fantastic steak and round out the evening with a glass of wine, which I am utterly unable to appreciate in my current state of inebriation. It’s now the halfway point of my trip, in terms of mileage and time. I have been on the road for a week and traveled 2000 miles. I significantly underestimated the length of the trip – I originally anticipated about 3000 miles, round trip. So much for my Google Maps estimate.



Tomorrow I will be conducting my proper, not blind drunk interview of JT and spending another day in New Orleans before I begin the long journey home.





Ducati motorcycle in New Orleans


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Old 11-06-2013, 09:36 PM   #51
Contevita
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Location: Gulfport, MS
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I'm going to have to agree with you about the interstate in Mississippi, it's boring. There are some decent secondary roads here but nothing that is outright fantastic to ride on in southern MS. I do a lot of riding and exploring on these roads as they're in my back yard. I do miss the mountain roads of the PNW.

It sounds like you're having a great time in New Orleans, lots of great food, drink and all sorts of characters to meet. Keep up the great pictures and writing. I'm always interested in reading ride reports from people visiting the USA, it's great to see this place from a different perspective.
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:44 AM   #52
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Great ride report - thanks for posting!

Curious what luggage setup you're using on the 916?
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:52 AM   #53
JEC OP
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Originally Posted by WHB_P View Post
Great ride report - thanks for posting!

Curious what luggage setup you're using on the 916?
Nelson Riggs SPRT50. Like 100$ delivered and worked great, quite a bit of room. They even held up fine in a mishap that is coming later in the story... They don't exactly fit the 916 properly but they did the trick.

I put a shitload of frisket film all over the tail to protect the paint and some heavy duty double sided tape under the straps - it was kind of rubbery so even when it wasn't tacky anymore it acted like an anti-slip pad. I had put heat resistant tape on the inside of the bags to protect against the exhausts, but it just ended up scuffing the cans so I took it off. Even then the heat wasn't enough to melt anything. Please note I have carbon cans, I doubt you could do the same with metal exhausts.

My tankbag is a shitty no-name item I've had for 8 years (and works fine thank-you-very-much). I also carried a low-profile skateboarder's backpack for light items and extra storage.
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Old 11-10-2013, 05:09 PM   #54
JEC OP
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Part IX
http://www.odd-bike.com/2013/11/oddb...bienville.html
----



French Quarter New Orleans



Part IX of the OddBike USA Tour Travelogue. Click here for Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VII, and Part VIII.










I wake up Monday morning to the sound of a skittering creature in the shop. That would be JT's dog, Rivet, who was dropped off that morning. A tiny mongrel Chihuahua of some sort, Rivet is a hyperactive bug-eyed muppet who adds some life to Bienville Studios.



"What breed is he?" I ask JT while the snorting little gremlin is dancing around in front of me, scarcely able to contain his excitement at the prospect of a new human in the shop he can annoy.



"Namibian bat terrier."



"... Really?"



"No, I just made that up."  






Namibian Bat Terrier





I was thankfully free of hangover after our night of drinking in the French Quarter. On JT's recommendation I head over to Café Envie on Decatur to grab some black coffee and breakfast. Envie is a busy hangout spot, populated by locals and tourists alike. It's one of the myriad trendy espresso and pastry places you'll find in any city, located in early-20th century commercial buildings with lots of wood, brick, tall ceilings, and a collection of mid-century French advertisements hung on the walls. Exactly the same as everywhere else: they all try to be unique and homey but end up all looking the same, sharing the same aesthetics, the same décor, the same coffee, and the same bland food. It feels just like Montreal, minus the snobby service and propensity for the staff to use the deliberately ambiguous "Bonjour, hello" greeting that places specific emphasis on the French half to stay in the good graces of the Office québécois de la langue française. 30% more emphasis if the Office is to be appeased. Readers who speak French will note they call it the “Office” without one iota of irony.



I head back to the Studio and discover Rivet has nabbed the toothbrush from my luggage and appropriated it as his new chew toy. Little fucker.




Rivet the Little Toothbrush Stealing Bug Eyed Fucker



JT lends me a Suzuki Bandit 1200 to run downtown to pick up my temperature sensor, which is being held at the post office. He is clearly quite fond of the Bandit and sings praise for it before sending me off, hoping I’ll enjoy it as much as he does. I’m not so endeared by it. It’s comfy and the ergonomics are good for city riding, but it feels loose and lazy compared to the razor-sharp response of the 916. My short blast downtown is a lesson in contrasts. The Bandit suspension is soft, the brakes have a squishy feel despite stainless lines, and the throttle response is soft and slightly delayed. I forgot what a big four fed by CV carburettors felt like – snap the throttle and a short delay is followed by a slow swell of power. It lacks the right-the-fuck-now snap of a well-tuned fuel-injected twin, instead it feels like it needs to spool up slightly before it starts to stretch your arms. You need to relay your demands to the engine room before the old girl starts to hustle. But once it gets going it builds speed quickly, riding a nice fat torque curve from 3000 rpm up. It would be great as a comfy and stone-axe reliable all-rounder, but I will always prefer the brutality of my 916.




Suzuki Bandit 1200 New Orleans



There was a period of two years when I had put the 916 into storage, after moving from New Brunswick back to Quebec. Various reasons prompted this stupid decision, the main one being the prohibitively expensive Quebec registration rates (which was 1500$ per year at the time). One season I didn’t ride at all, the next I bought a beater 1984 Honda VF750F Interceptor to get around Montreal. The Interceptor felt somewhat like the Bandit – soft, comfy, a bit dull, sort of sporting but hardly a sport bike. I rode the VF to New Brunswick that year and pulled the 916 out of storage. I changed the timing belts and gave it a once over, then took it out to blast the cobwebs out. After riding the spongy Honda, a spin around town on the Ducati felt like a sledgehammer to the face. I was screaming inside my helmet, experiencing pure elation and a rush of pure, uncut adrenaline as I thundered up the street and slammed through the gears. I had forgotten how precise, how tight, how perfectly responsive it was. I had forgotten the explosive punch of the motor when it came on the cam. I had forgotten how fucking amazing it was to ride. It was the most intense experience I have had on a bike since I took those first tentative loops around a parking lot 10 years ago. I vowed on that day I would never neglect the 916 again. I sold the Honda at the end of that season and had the Ducati delivered to Montreal the following spring.



I arrive at the post office and discover they are closed. It’s Columbus Day. Shit. That means I will have to run to the office on Tuesday morning as soon as they open, grab the part, and then install it before I hit the road. This screws up my planning slightly, as I hoped to hit the road just after sunrise tomorrow so I could make a stop at Motus in Birmingham before their office closed. But I don’t have much choice at this point. I curse myself for having the sensor shipped here instead of Birmingham - I had forgotten about Saturday USPS service and could have gotten it installed before I left for New Orleans.




Bienville Studios New Orleans



I return to the Studio. I'm not really sure how to proceed at this point. I'm ostensibly here to interview JT, but I have no idea where to begin. I'm not a journalist as much as a guy who writes articles. My typical process is to research, write a draft, and then make note of areas where the piece seems weak or where details are ambiguous. It’s only after I've written the bulk of the article that I contact people and ask questions, because that is when I know what I'm missing. So my "interviews" are anything but, and often end up becoming friendly bike-related banter between two motorcycle enthusiasts more than a journalist sitting down with tape recorder and notepad asking hard-hitting questions. All of this to say: I'm not in my element when I sit down to interview JT Nesbitt with only a cursory overview of the Legacy to go on.



JT asks me what I want to do. I recall he mentioned that the Studio needed cleaning. So I offer to vacuum the shop. I'm a believer in earning my keep when someone is gracious enough to welcome me into his or her home. On Thursday I helped Winslow with his Triumph troubles. Today I'm cleaning JT Nesbitt's workshop.



"Now you have a good story to tell your grand kids."



I finish up and we finally sit down to have a proper conversation about JT's work. Last night was about philosophy - today is about design. We begin with the Wraith.




Confederate Wraith Sketch



While JT isn’t one to look backwards, you can’t speak about his work without referencing his time with Confederate and the Wraith. It is clearly a high point for him and he recalls the details with pride. He was a part of something special, and Matt Chambers was a man who understood Nesbitt’s ideals. Without Chambers, JT would never have had his big break in motorcycle design. Without the freedom that Confederate offered, he wouldn’t have been able to apply his uncompromising vision.



It begs the question: where would Nesbitt be without Confederate and Chambers, and where would Confederate and Chambers be without Nesbitt? Speaking to JT and hearing him share the stories and events of those days you can’t help but sense he cultivates an image of Chambers as a benevolent but misunderstood leader. He clearly has had a profound influence on JT.



The “Art of Rebellion” isn’t just a catchy motto, it’s Confederate’s modus operandi. And JT came away from his experience there with a set of uncompromising principles that are hard to fathom for those of us who weren’t there. His time with the company was a remarkable period that had a profound influence on his design philosophy and his personality. That’s why any discussion of JT’s work must include a reference to his time at Confederate and the designs he did there. You must not think of it as dwelling on the past or falling back onto past glories – it is the process of defining the context and the environment that allowed JT Nesbitt to become the designer he is today.




Bienville Legacy Sketch



We have hours of intense discussion about Confederate, the Wraith and the Legacy. It is a series of constant revelations, a stream of new details I had never heard before. This is the most interesting part about running OddBike – hearing the stories that no one has shared. You might think that various journalists have already published most of the interesting details over the years. You would be very, very wrong. I don’t know why this is. Are motorcycle journos simply missing the details that are set in front of them, putting aside key information in favour of useless press-release drivel? Are they consciously omitting elements to keep the higher-ups and advertisers happy? Maybe industry people are just not as forthcoming with “real” journalists as they are with freelance guys who don’t have an agenda to uphold. The answer is probably a combination of the three.



After several hours my head is spinning. I’m desperately scratching down notes throughout our conversation, trying to wrap my head around the design philosophies that JT is throwing at me. A few times I have to admit he lost me. It dawns on me that this is where I can do something better. I want to do something nobody has done before – profile JT and his work in a way that does justice to his ideas, without glossing over stuff because it is too esoteric or too difficult to understand. I make a point to never dumb down my writing, at least not anywhere below my own comprehension. That attempt will come in due time, once I have the opportunity to write the articles profiling the Legacy and the Wraith. I may not succeed, but I will try my damnedest to properly explain what JT has done and is doing here in New Orleans.




Bienville Legacy Motorcycle



By now it is getting late and it is time to go drinking again. We head back to Molly’s to continue our motorcycle-enthusiast banter. Now that the serious business is out of the way we can relax and share stories and opinions. It is a strange thing. We have been talking bikes continuously since I arrived, but never the same topics. You could compartmentalize the discussions into different subjects, and then split them between “personal” and “professional”. It isn’t just “talking about motorcycles”, as a singular topic, it is much more than that. Before I came down JT had mentioned that he was looking forward to having someone to talk shop with, because there wasn’t much of a motorcycle community in New Orleans. I thought this was funny because I am in the same situation in Montreal, where I know a few motorcycle riders but few who have the same level of interest that I do. So when we came together it became a huge release of pent-up stories and ideas on both sides. Many things were discussed, but the broad theme of this evening’s bar session is to remain open and within one’s realm of experience when expressing opinion - JT is continuing to prod my dislike of British machines. That, and the Suzuki RE-5 might be one of the most overrated motorcycles of all time.




Jackson Square New Orleans



Around 8pm, once we are both good and primed with beer and liquor, JT announces that he is going home and expects me to explore the Quarter on my own. I’ve been in New Orleans for two days and still haven’t done the touristy stuff, so it’s time to get that over with before I head home tomorrow. He sees me off and I venture out, beer in hand, wandering through the area with no particular destination in mind.




Mississippi River New Orleans



I pay a visit to Jackson Square and stop to take notes on the shores of the Mississippi, watching the out-of-towners pose for photos and stumble around the landmarks. Want to look like a local? Just stay sober. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place that is so blatantly and unashamedly aimed at hustling tourists out of their sobriety. Then again I’ve never been to Las Vegas.




Mississippi River New Orleans



I had this thought before I arrived at Bourbon Street, which turned out to be a zone of such utterly comical decadence that I couldn’t get away from it fast enough. Even in my tipsy state I simply couldn’t stand being surrounded by a bunch of drunken, ugly, middle-aged revellers. I recalled some half-remembered scene from a Hunter S. Thompson tale, probably from “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved” or some such social commentary masquerading as a piece of journalism. I’m surrounded by greasy, distorted faces twisted into unsettling grins, glazed expressions of merriment brought on by copious amounts of booze and jazz. There are only two types of people here: stumbling, sloppy drunks and the people taking advantage of them. I quickly cut through the crowd and pass the worst of it, the crowds gradually dispersing and the venues becoming less and less contrived.




French Quarter New Orleans



I end up in some of the residential areas of the Quarter. The streets are quiet and empty, the buildings framed by the dim light of gas lanterns. It’s eerie and beautiful. The architecture is stunning and punctuated by flourishes of lush vegetation here and there. It seems so incongruous that there would be stunning houses and apartments here, most likely million-dollar properties, so close to the epicentre of depravity of the Southeast. Softly lit alleyways leading to colonial courtyards are simultaneously inviting and slightly menacing. “You’ll feel like a vampire is gonna jump out and get you” as JT had put it earlier, a grin on his face as he sent me on my way.




French Quarter New Orleans



I’m beginning to feel pensive as I begin sobering up. After tonight I begin the long journey home. I will be returning to my mundane life. It is a thought that bothers me intensely. Earlier in the evening I had mentioned this to JT. His response was simple: why don’t I move? Why don’t I do something about it? It’s a good point. I am the agent of my own destiny. Sitting idle and whining about how much I hate my life isn’t going to get fuck all done about the situation. I have always had a certain fear of instability, of taking a great leap into the unknown. But this trip and my discussions with JT are beginning to shift my mindset. I am realizing that I need to take a risk to move forward, and this trip was the first step towards breaking my fear of the unknown. I hopped on a legendarily unreliable and uncomfortable sport bike and rode across the United States with barely enough money to complete the journey. It has been the most amazing experience of my short life. The gears are now turning in my head as I contemplate how I can escape my monotonous existence and move forward with my life.





 






French Quarter New Orleans



I complete my tour of the Quarter and return to Café Envie to grab a coffee and a sandwich. I take my notes for the day. Eccentric and eclectic people are coming and going, grabbing their late night snacks and sustaining their nighthawk habits with free-trade caffeine infusions. New Orleans has had the most interesting mixture of people of all the places I’ve been to so far, certainly an appealing mix if you are tired of the dull keeping-up-with-the-Jones homogeneity of most cities.



My notes completed and my cup empty, it’s time to go to bed. I want to be well rested for my voyage tomorrow, as it will be the first leg of the long ride back home.      









   French Quarter New Orleans


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JEC screwed with this post 11-11-2013 at 10:30 AM
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:54 PM   #55
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This RR just keeps getting better.
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Old 11-14-2013, 03:39 AM   #56
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Indeed. Well written, obviously some thinking going on before words get pounded out.

Stay true to your words. One caveat: once you go pro, it changes things.

Then again, no one likes to think about how good they were in the lean times, when they have a big mouthful of food.
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:00 AM   #57
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Part X
http://www.odd-bike.com/2013/11/oddb...ding-home.html



Ducati 916 Motorcycle Louisiana Coast



Part X of the OddBike USA Tour Travelogue. Click here for Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIII, Part IX.





Tuesday morning I get up early and take the Bandit to the USPS office in downtown New Orleans to grab the coolant sensor. I cut through the morning traffic and narrowly avoid getting T-boned by an asshole in a hulking SUV who has apparently decided that right of way is determined in inverse proportion to penis size. Here is where the Bandit is at home - it's a bit big to call it a city bike, but it does the job admirably considering it's an oil-cooled 1152cc stump puller. Rough roads are absorbed well by the slightly squishy suspension. The wide bars give lots of leverage and the steering it surprisingly quick. The brakes are strong once you get past the mushy lever. Having had a set of six-piston Tokicos on my Suzuki SV650, I'll say that with a set of sintered pads, stainless lines, and DOT 5.1 fluid they can work damned well.









Ducati 916 Motorcycle Louisiana Coast




I return to Bienville Studios where JT helps me swap out the offending widget. He slathers the thread of the sensor with some aircraft grade sealant, overkill but at least I know that won't be leaking on the way home. I picture Elwood Blues pulling a deus ex device out of his briefcase: "Strong stuff."





I wheel the 916 out to the entrance and start packing my gear. JT takes a seat on it, clearly in admiration of the machine. He looks a little out of place - I vaguely recall someone describing the 916 as an 8/10ths scale replica of what you expected it to be, and that's a pretty accurate description. For a mid-1990s 900cc superbike it is ridiculously compact and narrow. Period reviews compared the dimensions as being closer to a 250 than a litrebike. Seeing a 6'4" rider perched on top of one, contorting himself  into a crouch to fit into the tight dimensions, you start to realize why they got a reputation for being uncomfortable. I have no such problems, being 5'7" and pretty slim. I am the "Mid-size Italian pimp" these bikes were designed for.





Ducati 916 Motorcycle Louisiana Coast




JT had told me a few months back to knock off my 916 fanboy routine, referring to the numerous articles I had written on the subject. He prodded me while I was visiting - I must like the image, the idea of having a 916. He seemed to assume there was an element of vanity in my love of the machine, that I praise it because of what it is, not because of how it is. But that isn't the case at all. I simply adore that bike and nothing I've ever ridden gives me the same rush, and despite being a young punk I have ridden quite a few machines over the years. I write a lot about the 916 because A. it's the only vehicle I've owned for the past seven years, B. I know it pretty well, and C. I genuinely fucking love it. If something comes along that does it better and has the same emotional impact, I'll buy it. But I still haven't found that machine.





Watching JT sit on the Ducati and look over the details, I think he has more respect for the 916 than he lets on. He certainly has high regard for Massimo Tamburini - he is one of the few motorcycle designers who has actually built bikes and chassis, rather than simply styling them before handing the sketches off to a committee of workers to do the dirty stuff. Tamburini has paid his dues with hands-on work and this gives him a unique insight into the design process that many stylists lack.




Ducati 916 Motorcycle Louisiana Coast



 I've often said that the only bike I would consider trading the 916 on would be an MV Agusta F4, the "other" Tamburini masterwork. There are some days when I actually mean it, usually when I'm elbow deep in the 916 hunting some elusive electrical gremlin. During the dead of winter one year I attended the Montreal Salon de la Moto. MV was present and I had a seat on the F4. My heart immediately jumped into my throat. The seating position and controls were instantly familiar - it was the only bike I've ever sat on that had the same ergonomics as my 916. The connection between the two designs was readily apparent in a very physical way. It may seem silly but that instant recognition, of feeling immediately at home, almost made me cry. If you don't understand why I got choked up sitting on a bike at a dealer stand, then you probably also don't see the appeal of Italian bikes. 





I am sorely disappointed I didn't have the opportunity to take JT's SB8R for a spin. He had offered me the chance last night but I don't have time, I need to get to Birmingham and my morning repair session has set me back. Hopefully someday in the future we will have the opportunity to swap bikes and compare notes. Sitting on the Bimota revealed that Ducati has nothing on the boys from Rimini when it comes to building a staggeringly uncomfortable machine. The narrow clip-ons felt like they were attached somewhere around the front mudguard, and you can't move them higher without hitting the massive arched intake snorkels which are jammed up into your face.





Ducati 916 Louisiana Coast




I load my luggage and start warming up the bike. It seems to be running well, though it isn't cold enough to reveal the flooding issue I was having earlier. JT notes that my front brake lights aren't working. Without thinking I give the standard response: a wave of the hand and the "It's Italian" excuse. It's like a reflex, I can't help it. Later on I hunted down the loose connection that was causing the issue and restored some peace of mind while riding through traffic. It wouldn't be the first time I've ridden through city traffic with no brake lights. I've gotten into the habit of doing a pre-flight electrical check before each ride because "It's Italian."





Alabama




I hit the road and make my way to Birmingham. Once again  I endure the dull Mississippi Interstate, but this time I don't make the mistake of stopping for lunch at a crappy off-ramp fast food joint. Nope, I'm going to be sensible and stop at a crappy off-ramp quasi-homestyle food joint - Cracker Barrel. If you've never been to the US you might not be aware of the chain of "Southern country theme" restaurants-slash-gift shops that dot the country, which are not to be confused with the equally phony Kraft cheeses. They are as ubiquitous as they are contrived. They are all identical and designed to vaguely resemble a country store, walls loaded with old-timey nostalgic nonsense. They combine a tacky gift shop crammed with cornball seasonal items with a quote-unquote "homestyle" restaurant. They have two redeeming features - they sell something other than greasy hamburgers, and they have a cheap lunch menu.







I order a "homestyle" (of course) meatloaf and a cup of coffee. It's surprisingly tasty, but I can't get over the goofy decor and overly-friendly staff. It feels totally manufactured. Authentic it is not. I stare at one of the supposedly vintage advertisements on the wall. How would I know they didn't invent all these defunct brands? How do I know Nichol Kola actually existed? Maybe it was just the product of a Cracked Barrel boardroom meeting, the brainchild of a committee of Madison Avenue suits who were attempting to concoct some vaguely old-fashioned sounding wall decor.





The waitress breaks character to reveal she rides a motorcycle as well. A GSX-R750. With nitrous installed. And it's her first bike. She really wanted a 600 (to be sensible) but ended up with this instead, but it's OK cause she never uses the NOS.





Cracker Barrel doesn't serve calamari, but they apparently hire them. Sorry if you happen to read this Ms. Nitrosevenfifty, but in a couple of years you will understand why I find your choice of starter bike absolutely ridiculous and totally appalling. Maybe sooner if you happen to test out the nitrous.


    


I reach Birmingham around 5.30 and get lost trying to head straight for the Motus factory to see if I can stop in for a visit before they close. Again I'm stymied by the city's awful planning and end up going to the right address, but on the wrong side of town. I get back onto the Interstate and head towards where I think Winslow's house was, but get lost - again. Fuck. I pull over and call Winslow to make arrangements to meet him so he can lead me around - again. While I wait for him to finish work I pick up a toothbrush to replace the one that Rivet commandeered in New Orleans.





Finally I am reunited with my guide. Following Winslow to his house I realize I was even more lost that I originally thought, and that if I had made any attempt to figure out my way around town I would have ended up somewhere around Tuscaloosa. This is the problem with being an old fashioned luddite who refuses to use GPS. I can read a map and I can plan a route, but if I go even slightly off course I'm properly fucked until I can hassle the locals to get me back on track.





Jim N Nick's BBQ Birmingham Alabama




Once again I ask Winslow to take me to the barbeque. This time we head to a more upscale joint, Jim 'N Nick's in downtown Birmingham. It is upscale by virtue of not being a smoke-filled box with broken windows out front. The food and beer is good, but I can't help think that I would have been happier going back to Saw's Soul Kitchen. In terms of the actual food, Saw's has this place beat and it was half the price. Who needs atmosphere or clean tables when you can have the most magnificent slab of meat ever crafted by human hands?




Tennessee





Wednesday arrives and it's time to continue heading north. I'm not interested in the dull Interstates of Georgia this time around: I've decided to head up through Tennesse and cut across the Great Smoky Mountains into North Carolina.





Great Smoky Mountains National Park




Winslow helps me plan a rough route before I leave. I'll take the Interstate up through Chattanooga towards Knoxville then head east along the secondary routes until I reach the mountains. The route looks like a tantalizing ribbon of road that is filled with switchbacks, hairpins and sweeping curves. On the other side of the Smokies I can get onto the Blue Ridge Parkway for some more twisty bits. I'm looking forward to doing some real riding for the first time in about 2500 miles.




Great Smoky Mountains National Park



I ride through the remainder of Alabama and into Tennessee. Once again the landscape starts to change. I climb into higher elevations along ever-more remote stretches of Interstate lined with hills and thick greenery. The forests are reminiscent of the thick woodland of my home province of New Brunswick, but the lack of winter weather promotes the growth of vines and shrubs that envelope the tree trunks and give the scene a slight jungle vibe. It's lush and beautiful, as green as green can be even in the late Fall.




Southern Powersports Honda Chattanooga Tennessee





After my throttle hand falls asleep for the 837th time I finally snap and decide to locate a Throttle Rocker. I follow some billboards for a Honda powersports dealer and head into Chattanooga. After meandering through a rough-looking industrial park I am relieved to discover a modern, well stocked dealership that is packed to the walls with motorcycles and ATVs of every description. If I'm going to find my throttle aid anywhere, it's going to be here among the racks of chrome dress-up baubles and chain lube. Sure enough they have them in stock and with I hit the road again, feeling somewhat embarrassed that I have resorted to installing a duckbill on the grip to continue the journey. I'm the sort of masochist who prefers to maintain absolute control at all times, comfort be damned - I don't even like using cruise control when I'm driving a car. Maybe it has something to do with my perverted desire to use the most inappropriate equipment for the most difficult jobs. But riding a 916 for anything more than 50 miles will cut the circulation to your hands to the point where you can't feel the controls. Try working the brakes when your fingers are completely asleep. Not fun or safe, so sissy duckbill it is.




Ducati 916 Motorcycle Throttle Rocker



I turn off the main Interstate onto a secondary road that cuts east into the mountains through Lenoir and Marysville. As I pull off I am getting psyched up for some nice roads. I gas up and have a snack, relaxing a bit and preparing myself for some twisty routes.



So you can imagine my anger when I get stuck in a series of tiny communities with lazy traffic, heavy road work, absurdly low speed limits, and generally boring roads. It's still a ways until I reach the Smokies, and to get there I need to ride through these infuriating 30-55 mph zones littered with State Troopers, slow drivers, and construction.




Great Smoky Mountains National Park



Once I approach Townsend the road starts to get interesting. The route climbs steadily higher into the Appalachians and the mist-capped peaks of the Smokies are coming into view. The corners are getting tighter. I enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which leads a fork in the road. Not remembering which way I'm supposed to go, I take a gamble and head right towards Cades Cove. Not far after the fork the road narrows and twists through a beautiful untouched forest, bright fall foliage shining bright against the cloudy grey afternoon sky. It's a treacherous route, with no shoulder and surprisingly heavy traffic. There is more traffic here than there was on the Interstate. I am not in my element at all - after a long day of riding I'm now dodging traffic on a tight mountain pass and I'm losing focus.




Great Smoky Mountains National Park Stone Bridge



The bike still isn't running quite right, with very snatchy throttle response in the midrange - probably a combination of E10, high altitude, and slightly out of balance throttle bodies. I'm pogoing through the corners like a green rider, desperately trying to keep the revs in a range where the bike doesn't buck and surge. I keep telling myself "commit to the turn and keep on the throttle" but I'm not having much luck. Add the steady flow of traffic, with hulking SUVs and minivans crowding into my lane around sharp turns, and it is clear I need to stop before I screw up. I pull over at a scenic stop to take photos and have a snack. I'm too tired to continue and I'm not even sure I took the right way at the fork, so I decide to turn around and head back to Townsend to stop for the night.




Ducati 916 Great Smoky Mountains National Park



I ride back to the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center to get some info and pick up a map. The Center's guide, a fellow rider, shows me the correct route to get to the Blue Ridge Parkway. He notes that the heavy traffic is due to the fact that the National Park was reopened today, after having been closed as part of the Federal shutdown. He warns that it is too late to head through the pass - after dark it's far too dangerous to ride, what with the lack of lighting and the prevalence of wildlife. I heed his advice and ask for a local motel that won't rip me off. He seems surprised by the question, and answers vaguely that they are all clean and fairly priced. I figured that seeing how he was a motorcyclist, a brother, he would give me the inside scoop and tell me which place I should go to and what the secret code was to avoid the naive tourist markup. But he was apparently in on the scheme.




Great Smoky Mountains National Park



I head down the road to one of the motels he mentioned. I pull into the parking lot and note a rather steep incline. I stop the bike and flip down the sidestand. The bike is standing bolt upright on the sloping ground. I wiggle a bit and think to myself "should be fine". I had my kickstand break a few years back and I replaced it with an item off a Streetfighter. The mount is the same but the bracket holds the bike at a higher angle. Fine on level ground, but tricky on slopes.



I hop off to the right and the bike topples onto me. I try to catch the bars but it's too late, the weight of the machine hits me in full and knocks me backwards into a wooden fence. I hear the sharp crack of the fence post nailing the side of my helmet just behind the visor. My first reaction is "it's a good thing I still have my helmet on." My second reaction is "holy sweet mother of fuck I just dropped my 916."



I leap to my feet in a flurry of panic and pure uncut rage. I'm angry at myself for not paying attention and parking the opposite way so that the kickstand would have been going down the slope. I'm angry that I've dumped my baby. I did knock it over once, accidentally bumping the rear wheel with a car in my parent's garage and tipping it into the snowblower that was parked next to it. There is still a 4 inch scar on the left side of the tank from that incident. But this is the first time I've ever properly dropped it. And to make my feel even more inadequate at that moment, I can't pick it up against the slope of the parking lot.




To make me feel better while I relate this awful experience, here's a picture of a pretty brook.



After a minute of straining to get it lifted, I run over to someone who seated on the porch in front of the motel. He hasn't flinched since I pulled in, apparently completely oblivious to the fact that I just dropped my fucking motorcycle and bashed my head against a fence post 30 feet in front of him. I momentarily suppress my rage and calmly ask if he would help me lift it up. He agrees, then asks the dumbest question he could have possibly mustered at that moment: "Why did you drop it?". I refrain from telling him what I really thought of his catastrophically idiotic question and set about righting the machine.




Ducati 916 Damage



I turn it around and park it properly before surveying the damage. I am lucky. There is a scuff on the lower fairing and some marks on the bar end and brake lever. The saddlebags have cushioned the tail and kept most of the bike off the ground. My helmet has a scuff from the impact against the fence and will need replacing, but is intact. I thank the unnamed fellow for his help and he returns to surveying the main road from his rocking chair. I wonder why he didn't come over and check to see if I was alright when I fell. Sometimes I forget that the prevailing attitude among non-riders is that I'm just a faceless, nameless biker, an extension of a loud and unpleasant mode of transportation that clutters up their blind spots. I'm certainly not a human being as far as they are concerned.




Bad Mojo Motel



There is no one present at the motel office. Another visitor pulls in and calls the owner, who sounds quite uninterested in coming out to greet us. 85$ a night, plus tax, take it or leave it. This for a run-of-the-mill motel that looks like it hasn't been refreshed since about 1978. The other visitor and I agree that is pretty steep considering what is on offer. I decide that based on my mishap this place has bad mojo and I will not be staying here. I head to the Best Western down the road.




Overprice Motel



Once again I overpay for a room in a mediocre hotel. In fact the rate is even higher here in the middle of nowhere than it was in Pennsylvania. It immediately becomes clear that all the lodging in this town rips off us hapless tourists - they are the only options for miles along a busy route right ahead of a major National Park, so no surprise there. That explains why the guide at the Heritage Center sounded kind of cagey when he responded to my question. Given my present state of mind and the fast setting sun, I'm in no mood to hunt down a better deal or camp for the night. At least the clerk gives me some fresh cookies - that totally makes up for paying 120$ for a room in Dolly Parton land. I vow that from here on it's going to be Super 8s or nothing.




Because of course.



I take a well deserved shower before walking over to the local supermarket to grab some food. I pick up a roast beef sandwich, some pork rinds, and a tallboy of Miller Light before settling in for a night of Discovery channel reality shows. "When in Rome."




When in Rome


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Old 11-17-2013, 01:31 PM   #58
Blader54
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Wow, sounds like the trip really took a turn for the worse once you left NO. Hassles picking up the sensor, then the purgatory of Cracker Barrel, followed by 2nd rate bbq in B'ham, heavy traffic on narrow winding rural roads, bike acting up making things more dangerous, getting lost, having to turn back for the night, a bad motel experience, and then dropping the bike, followed by more bad motel experience. Sorry to hear you had so much trouble.

Do you think that realizing the trip was winding down (and feeling a time pressure to get home to a job you hate) was a factor? Did the bike's continued shenanigans start to become more of a major pita than a part of the adventure? Do you think mental and physical fatigue were a factor? I'm just wondering because in this episode the tone seems very different from what it was on the way down. Then, you were excited and enjoying your interactions with American culture, but now, not so much.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:51 PM   #59
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I wouldn't read into it that much. I came away from that day in a bad mood, given what happened and how shitty the bike was running as soon as I hit the nice roads. Things were decidedly less exciting on the way home after the experiences I had on the way down, but I was still having fun.

But the story isn't finished yet! Stay tuned.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Blader54 View Post
Wow, sounds like the trip really took a turn for the worse once you left NO. Hassles picking up the sensor, then the purgatory of Cracker Barrel, followed by 2nd rate bbq in B'ham, heavy traffic on narrow winding rural roads, bike acting up making things more dangerous, getting lost, having to turn back for the night, a bad motel experience, and then dropping the bike, followed by more bad motel experience. Sorry to hear you had so much trouble.

Do you think that realizing the trip was winding down (and feeling a time pressure to get home to a job you hate) was a factor? Did the bike's continued shenanigans start to become more of a major pita than a part of the adventure? Do you think mental and physical fatigue were a factor? I'm just wondering because in this episode the tone seems very different from what it was on the way down. Then, you were excited and enjoying your interactions with American culture, but now, not so much.
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:49 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEC View Post
Nelson Riggs SPRT50. Like 100$ delivered and worked great, quite a bit of room. They even held up fine in a mishap that is coming later in the story... They don't exactly fit the 916 properly but they did the trick.

I put a shitload of frisket film all over the tail to protect the paint and some heavy duty double sided tape under the straps - it was kind of rubbery so even when it wasn't tacky anymore it acted like an anti-slip pad. I had put heat resistant tape on the inside of the bags to protect against the exhausts, but it just ended up scuffing the cans so I took it off. Even then the heat wasn't enough to melt anything. Please note I have carbon cans, I doubt you could do the same with metal exhausts.

My tankbag is a shitty no-name item I've had for 8 years (and works fine thank-you-very-much). I also carried a low-profile skateboarder's backpack for light items and extra storage.
Thanks for the info. This ride report is part of the reason I just picked up an 848. Loving the bike so far!
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