|10-23-2007, 11:28 PM||#1|
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: US 101 and I-380 overpass, third "I" beam
Newest member tells his story
That's me, Brotha Rubba, another adventure began September 7th. It shouldn’t have been difficult but I finally got the new tires and brake pads installed and found that my registration had expired.
I headed to the CA DMV for immediate resolution and the rolling stuff wasn’t rolling so good after my first stop. I went around the block and put her back on stands, found the rear spinning freely and the front had hot rotors.
I disassembled, bled and cleaned every brake component, put her back together and it all worked fine.
She felt great on the road and I got my registration updated. On the way home I was pulled over by San Mateo’s finest:
"Do you know why I stopped you?"
"Your tags expired in ‘06." (yeah, I hadn’t been stopped all year)
"I just fixed that."
"Why didn’t you put the sticker on your tag?"
At that point I really felt stupid that I didn’t do it in the lot. "I just got it."
He checked the paperwork "Yeah, you just got it."
They looked over the bike zoning in on the VIN and the Buell turn signals. Lead dude said "Be sure that you check that they have DOT stamped on them, these are good." (Thanks Dog Boy!)
Turns out it was a training stop, the subordinate mentioned that my brake light wasn’t working either.
The lead officer said "the back lever works the light" and they let me go but in departing he even said something about the difference in the ZRX 11/12 swingarms; hmmmm.
I got home and found one of the spade connectors was off of the front brake switch and while in there I replaced the cooked headlight socket. Good to go.
I planned on be heading across California on 120 then through southern Nevada to Cedar City, UT for the first day. Southern Utah, Colorado and maybe New Mexico for the second day and then NM and Oklahoma to Northern Arkansas for a short break.
Here are some shots from my trip last June…on the way back:
Rain in Oklahoma
Sunshine for a while and then it was a real mess in Texas
Death Valley sunset
I made it to central Utah on Saturday night and expected to be East of Colorado by the next day...takin' it easy this time.
I froze my butt off when I started out on Sunday but by late morning it had warmed up just fine.
Two Highway Patrol cars shared roadway with me today. I was protected from the first one by a semi that jumped out in front of me. He let me around him after we passed the speed trap. I owe thanks to Jesus and my Karma bank has a little less headroom. I waved to the truck as I went by. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I met rexer-Butch at a gas stop in Colorado and we discussed mods and the ZRXOA board. He's got an '05 rex. I forgot to put my earplugs in after the stop and took a side road to put them in. Coming back on the highway I had to accelerate or wait. I paused and then took off, easily beating traffic, and while shifting into lane position saw the other LEO cresting the oncoming hill. The speedo was reading a leeeetle high so I backed off and checked the mirror in time to see him braking into the left turn lane for the road I just came off of...sheet!
I just backed off to the speed limit and the Cal-Trans looking truck I jumped in front of caught up.
About a mile down the road I saw the cop peaking around the truck behind me but after another mile he turned off...and then I took off.
Shooting west at the intersection
I'd been chasing some ugly clouds and cruised some damp roads but seemed to have just missed the rain all day.
I've saw lots of bikes and 50 through CO is awesome.
1500 miles in three days so I figgered that was far enough when I stopped in Pueblo. Watching the weather channel in the hotel I second-guessed that I shooda gone on into Kansas...maybe further north too.
Tuesday was miserable and the chill was exacerbated by my poor choice of outerwear. Grip heaters and the electric vest saved my day. I experienced just enough precipitation to soak through and start the dripping water torture under my kit. When the rain appeared to subside I pulled out the thicker gloves and enjoyed warm hands for the rest of my trip.
Ugly Kansas weather
When I arrived in Pratt I got a room, got supplies from a parts store across the street and washed meanie greenie at the self-service sprayers next door. Check the oil and lights, lube the chain and she's ready for morning. After food and a little TV I was zonked-out, exhausted from the cold.
I had draped the wet gear around the room like a Laundromat and didn't really think it would be dry by morning.
I awoke Wednesday and went out for coffee. Damm, it's cold. Damm, no coffee. I just went upstairs and packed. I’d been bit by under dressing twice on this trip so I'm gonna get ready for cold this morning.
D'oh, i didn't get started until almost ten. By the time I was on the bike it must have been 70*. I took the warm gear off and packed it away. Put the racing gloves on and headed out; everything dried just fine.
Stop for food and coffee to start the day
I got a weird feeling once on 440. I could not get into a road-flow. 65, 75, 85, 75, 65, no speed felt right. After a few miles I noticed a white car blasting towards me from behind. When he was within clear sight I saw he was a popo. At the time I was doing 70 MPH (GPS) in a 65 so i dropped to between 65 and 69 MPH since he was right on me. He got and stayed in my blind spot for several minutes then sped up to about 5 MPH faster and left my vicinity.
Endless Kansas straights
Sunflowers just aren't the same here
Geese hanging with cows in a Kansas pasture
I saw numerous Harley riders headed West, according to a couple sharing my hotel there was something going on in Durango and the Southern Kansas/Oklahoma/Arkansas people are friendly and ready to strike a conversation. I talked to several riders who've hung up their boots but still seem to have bikes in their blood. Kansas was beautiful but they need to add some twists and turns into their roadways.
On 62, the road to Eureka Springs, AR, the sun was setting and the temperature was dropping. I stopped, got gas and put on my cold weather gear. When I resumed my trip it was dark and i discovered that i had no low beam headlight. Whew, only a bulb...only a bulb? Where will I get a bulb in the middle of nowhere, AR late at night? I decided to ride back to 71 and figgered I'd find an "always" Wal-Mart. To my surprise, after a bit of a tour around town, I found an O'riley's auto parts store that was open. I went in, picked out a bulb, replaced it in the lot and headed out. The darn parts store wasn't closing until 10:00! On my way out of town I saw another parts store open too. Weird. Nice!
I visited with my parents in Northern Arkansas for a few days.
On the road again…
Looking for back up I sent Special Ed of the ZRXOA a PM and he responded right away with his phone number. When I called he confirmed that 62 would be a good ride through Arkansas and recommended that I avoid Memphis. 62 was fine, thanks Ed.
I left Harrison September 15 in the afternoon; there were bikes-per-million on the road on this perfect day. Ride, get gas, ride, get gas…
Darn it frog’s legs and shrimp were LAST night
Somewhere between Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky I stopped for an adult beverage. Howie, KC and Tex all, at one time, had Kawasaki’s, KZs and H models, and were stoked to hear about my adventure.
Contrary to their appearance, they were actually a comical bunch
I was surprised at how dense the houses were situated along the highway east of Arkansas. The roads that I traveled had structure after structure lined up for miles. The sights kept my interest high for continuing my trip. Before I knew it Saturday night turned to Sunday dark followed by an awesome sunrise and I didn’t feel tired at all.
Small town party place
On-the-road night lights
US 62 headed northeast to just before Lexington and then 60 continued through the rest of Kentucky. It was incredibly relaxing, running parallel to the Blue Grass parkway, which would’ve been faster, but that wasn’t the point of this trip. I’ve never enjoyed the speed traps associated with traveling through small towns on US highways but hometown sights broke the monotony of the road for me this time around. I have an improved opinion for this type of touring.
Early morning break Sunday the 16th
A little later at a stop for gas
After Lexington I continued on 60, the parkway ended at I-64; US 60 parallels I-64. At a gas stop I attempted to buy a beer but the cashier informed me that Kentucky is dry on Sundays.
Quiet and deserted but an unsuccessful Kentucky nap break
On to West Virginia, to make time I jumped on 64 when I was about fifty miles from Huntington. I arrived and got a room just before dark. After getting some grub and picking-up a coupla beers I headed back for some TV.
I must have been pretty-darn tired because I woke to an almost full beer on the nightstand. I took off on the freeway to continue putting the fast miles behind me. A little blip of single lane traffic pushed me off the freeway and the kind gas station cashier recommended a way around the snag. When I got back on the interstate it was clear. Past Charleston I-79 was one of the most beautiful freeways I’ve ever been on. The excellent views and fast sweeping turns were entertaining but a fresh black asphalt ribbon of US highway was taunting me from below the freeway. The side road zigzagged under the elevated freeway several times before I convinced myself the right decision was to evacuate the slab. I didn’t know what it was or if it was headed to my destination but I took the road less traveled. At the next exit I found 36 north (west). 36 teed at 119/33 and took me northeast to Weston where I picked up I-79 for a short jaunt to Clarksburg, very nice.
At C’burg I got on US 50 again. Urban sprawl combined with the end of the school day made for heavy and slow traffic until I got to the open country.
One of the US 50 switchbacks
At a stop for gas I talked to an Oldwing rider…he said that the next 20 miles of 50 are the best in West Virginia. He also said that he needed more ground clearance…I recommended hanging off. 50 is very nice through West Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia (again) and Virginia. Fun, fun, fun.
I arrived at my friend’s house in Fairfax at about 9 o’clock Monday night, total miles from California about 5K.
|10-23-2007, 11:30 PM||#2|
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: US 101 and I-380 overpass, third "I" beam
Tuesday morning, off to work on my apartment
My first week in Virginia was pretty laid back. I ordered/purchased materials for my condo renovation, set up a music system and met with friends in the evenings. I had to have very short workdays to accommodate scheduled get-togethers, traffic and making the rounds to collect supplies.
My sister Stacy's friends Kelly and Charity at Kelly's birthday get-together
On my first Saturday we scheduled a ride but first thing’s first. Dan needed an inspection sticker on his ZX-9 and a rear tar to boot. One stop shopping. We returned to the shop in Winchester, where his bike started life, and they hooked him up. I was looking at replacement helmets for my five-year old Shoei but their prices were way high. I really liked the pricey CF HJC model though. While waiting we got bored and toured across the street where The Motorcycle Shop was having an open house, band and test rides. Oof, that southern rock cover band was bad. I was stoked to try the new Buell but no luck. The only sport bike they had was an XB-9…I thought they stopped producing those!? What the hay, we had breakfast and strolled back to get his bike.
The service manager said "Man I been trying to get you. Your left wheel bearing is totally gone and we don’t have one in stock." We talked between ourselves and came up with the idea to cross-reference the number and find a suitable sub from an auto parts store. Service manager ran with the idea and found a trailer bearing with matching numbers in stock. We got back on the road but without much time for a ride. I used to ride my racing bicycle on these roads so it was cool to reminisce about days gone by (at 75 mph) on the Northern VA back roads.
Saturday evening came with a beer fest event in Manassas and my sister got us tickets knowing I’m a fan of P-funk.
George’s didy was not dirty anyway
We arrived in the middle of the afternoon and Fishbone was just about to come on. I highly recommend them to anyone whom likes rockin’ horns. I was impressed considering what I'd been exposed to on the radio, totally tight and serious musicians.
Fishbone was entertaining
Stacy and her friend Natasha were pretty entertaining too
I was impressed that there was an excellent selection of beer and tasty-looking eye candy as well.
"When she shakes it you can see her..." (I can't post the other pictures of her in this thread.)
We spent Sunday with family; extremely laid back with good food and more beer.
Jen and Bill had good news
Enough vacation, I gotta get to work!
What a crazy project! The condo renovation was very slow. I needed labor to assist with the tedious aspects like cleaning the floors, stripping the convectors, removing the old caulk from the tub and painting.
I contracted a painter and they did a pretty good job with application but cleanup was apparently not included in my verbal contract. The floors were a royal pain to make right after they left. Mud and paint drips were everywhere.
I saw some guys hanging out at the Home Depot during my first week there but when I looked for laborers to help with my project they had disappeared. The East Coast seems to have a different attitude towards the type of worker that you’d find in the builder’s supply lot anyway.
My last week in VA was busy since I anticipated completion a full week prior. Ended up that I just had to work until I couldn’t move anymore. I couldn’t even drive. I’d just curl up on a box and crash for a few hours and then start all over again. My agent told me that I was too much of a perfectionist but, to myself, I thought that I cut some unreasonable corners.
The day I finally knew I’d finish I just slowed down and closed out the job at the end of the day. Did a walk through with the agent and turned over the keys.
Traffic was a nightmare on the way back to Dan’s house but I just accepted it knowing that I’d be in a soft, warm bed for a good night’s sleep.
Stoopid traffic on S Kings backed up to Telegraph
When I finally got "home" my sister cooked up some badazz veggies including superlicious mashed potatoes and asparagus. Dan hooked us up with some fillet and grilled homegrown tomatoes. A meal fit for a king. After a little TV I sank into a deep, hard sleep.
Dan did a once-over on meanie greenie for me and gave her his seal of approval (with disclaimers). All I had left was to pack and load her up in the morning.
Thanks for putting me up and putting up with me.
|10-23-2007, 11:31 PM||#3|
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: US 101 and I-380 overpass, third "I" beam
The morning of Thursday, October 11th came and went. I couldn’t get my bag zipped up or find my wallet. Stacy found my wallet under the bed and helped me reorganize my packing. I was on the road by about noon. Whew.
Bye Stace, thanks a million!
It had been 90* every day in the DC metro area until departure day. The temperature had dropped about 40* from the day before but I expected it to cook at some point. I was wrong.
Straight to the beltway and up 270 to I-70. At Hagerstown 70 was backed up so I jumped on US-40, prolly a mistake cuz the 25-mph downtown streets were crowded and the lights weren’t sequenced. Dayum I hate not being able to split lanes. My first stop for gas was a little after one o’clock on US-40 in Huyett. 40 rejoined I-70 and I took a quickie left exit onto I-68. I was making good time.
Lunch in Cumberland, MD
After lunch in sunshiny Cumberland I held the restaurant door open for a geezer on my way out. He was wheezing, geezing and barely able to move. The gent mentioned something about Judy Garland, The Wizard and a wonderful rainbow after the storm. Whew, that one blew straight over me like a 747. I just walked to meanie kinda shaking my head not wanting to consider the circumstances that brought the nice old man to his state of conciseness. I quickly made it to the on ramp; first, second, third gear, crest the hill and the ugliest sky you ever saw greeted me with a blast of cold air. Now I got it.
Conditions fifteen minutes after lunch
Kicking myself in the butt for not paying closer attention to the old-timer I regretted not donning my rain gear. I kept a close eye on the cars coming in my direction for operating wipers but it didn’t matter; soon I had to turn off and get dressed for mess.
At that point I realized that I left my clear shield in Fairfax and cringed at the thought of travelling at night with the dark one. On I-79 I saw a Yamaha dealership billboard and found my way to their doorstep. "Nope, we ain’t got one of those Shoei shields…can’t sell Shoei here, too expensive." I guessed there’s no market for them in the land of Roethlisberger. Dood hooked me up with an HJC helmet and information from weather.com then wished me well.
Sunset at the dealership in Waynesburgh, PA
Equipped with my new CL-15 I was out of my rain gear and back on the road. The sun had set; I’d updated my sister and was wide-awake, ready to put miles behind me.
I rode through the uneventful night and found myself nodding off in Indiana during the wee hours of the morning. I broke at the next rest area and slept like a baby with my feet on the bars for a couple of hours. Fall is here; I awoke to a chill that caused uncontrollable chills. I started the bike, plugged in the electric vest and headed west again. Sheesh, almost immediately I was nodding again. Too cold to stop and too tired to go on, I’d never been in this predicament before.
Daylight arrived and I stopped for gas and breakfast. I sat with the truckers and saw a sign I’d missed in our isolated section "Drivers Only." I never saw one of those before, reminded me of those signs over water fountains in my southern hometown, back in the day. They served my coffee and food without delay and a couple drivers inquiring about my trip approached me.
Soon I was in Illinois and fighting a nod factor of about 3.5. The next rest stop was like a ghost town; I didn’t even remove my helmet, kicked back and crashed hard in the saddle again. I (thought I) awoke, removed a single glove and my helmet but later came out of my coma to a parking lot full of vehicles and activity. The glove I’d removed was still in hand as well as my helmet held across my lap…lucky I didn’t drop the darn thing. A herd of oldwingers parked next to me and as soon as I came-to the verbal exchange started. This ride and that ride and where and when ad infinitum. The wings ranged in age and state of modification like any other group of long available bikes and riders but the one that caught my eye had gold seats looking more like something from a living room than the street. I swear the seats had Lay-Z-Boy stamped on the side and a wood handle to activate the recliner function.
"You must have electrics" one exclaimed. I raised the plug from under my jacket to confirm his assumption. "California?!" The guy kinda sneered "You’ve got at least three more days." I replied that I hoped not and was planning for two. The kind old gents wished me well and were off.
Soon I was passing over the Mississippi River, past the huge silver arch and through Missouri. Gas and ride, gas and ride gas and ride. Getting close to Kansas was my first experience with stoopid traffic since Fairfax. Approaching Kansas City was a nightmare of herded vehicles and I could only sit in my landlocked position. Once downtown the traffic spread out, I was able to slice and dice through the weebles to obtain a waaay over the speed limit clip. Finally hindered by a left-lane-driver I kept my cool until he moved over. As he shifted lanes we crested a hill and biker cop was pointing his hand held nabber into traffic like a pistol with the recoil of a hot-loaded 44 magnum. I was doing about ten over (indicated) and every car hit their brakes when they saw him. Not me, I had a clear left lane as biker-boy maintained his pose on the side of the road.
The Kansas Turnpike overlays I-70 between KC and Topeka, on approach I got gas and asked another customer how much the toll would be. He couldn’t tell me for sure but said between three and five dollars; I just wanted to have cash ready so rolled up a five and tucked it away for easy access. Back on the road I pulled an entry ticket, put it under my butt and took off, literally. This road would more aptly be called the Kansas Autobahn. 70, 80, 90 miles an hour and cars were still passing me. I remembered passing a pick-up with a partially covered piano in the back but many cars passed me. At Topeka warnings of construction directed the traffic around the loop instead of through the construction riddled downtown. I discovered that I was one of the uninitiated cuz fifteen minutes after I got back on 70 I passed that pick-up with the piano.
I felt that watching my fuel level was important west of Missouri so I planned for a stop in Salina. About 50 miles from stop time I started seeing some ugly-azzed clouds. The road would change trajectory and the clouds, likewise, moved away from my direction of travel, then the opposite would occur. Finally a split appeared between two sets of black low-hanging masses. The road pointed straight for the lightest part of the ugly and I considered myself lucky. 30 miles from Salina the lightning sails were arcing overhead between the two separated dark sections and I started thinking "this don’t look too good." Immediately the bottom dropped out and the heavy rain combined with spray from the line of cars in front of me had me soaked. A plethora of possible actions buzzed through my head but I was already totally wet. I swerved a little to the right in an attempt to see what the line of traffic that kept me in tire spray was like. I saw that it was a single car in front of me and one to my right running blockage. Damn, why do they do that? I flashed the Camaro in front of me and he accelerated to move out of my way. Ten more miles to Salina and the roadway closed down to one lane then crossed the median to the other side. Stuck now I just endured the wash cycle. The road opened up to two lanes and another inconsiderate driver occupied my lane. Flash once, wait, flash again, wait; no movement. Try a little tailgate, flash, no movement. Grrlfriend just sat there. My exit was a mile away so I backed off, changed lanes and took the ramp to get out of that nasty situation.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to remedy this situation and did not want to stop for the night. With soggy leathers, water-pooled boots and a shivering-cold body in Small-town Kansas the first order of business was some hot food for my exhausted body. Generally I go for veggie pizza but the meat lover’s was calling my name. A warm, dry restaurant, hot coffee and pizza got my head working again so I asked the waitress if there was a Laundromat in town. "Yeah but it’ll prolly close in a half hour. Why don’t you use the one out back?" Like the Driver section at the Illinois diner I thought the "Trucker’s Lounge" was off limits to us regular folks, who might wear tennis shoes or an occasional python boot. I confirmed permission by asking another Triple J attendant where the washers were located. After her response I grabbed my luggage, changed into warm, dry clothes and put my leather parts in their own dryer for a quick turn around. The gloves were in one dryer, jacket in another and pants in the third but after a few minutes of TV it donned on me that it’d be best if I could dry my boots too. I started the forth dryer with my boots inside but after I heard the resulting racket I knew it wouldn’t be tolerated. I put a boot in with my jacket and the other in with my pants and the noise was muffled enough to give me peace of mind that it wouldn’t attract too much attention. Still, towel-boy kept staring into the wash room with his head tilted as if he didn’t really know what to think or do about the situation.
Remnants of that nasty storm allowed for only a peak at Friday evening’s sunset
After I prepped the bike my stuff still wasn’t dry. I got a soda and chilled to a movie for a while. Soon I was changing back into riding clothes and packing the bike for departure, some local guy struck up a conversation with me. "Nice bike!"
"Thanks, she’s my workhorse."
"Wow, she’s sweet, I just got a bike."
"A Kinetic moped…I did a trip to Abaline last week. That ain’t like what you’re doing, it’s only 65 miles, but it’s better than a bicycle."
"You’re right, and most Americans got it wrong anyway, buying too much bike before they know what they’re doing. Master that moped before you move up to a motorcycle…Do you know what the weather is like west of here?"
"Clear alla the way to Colorado…at least."
Right on moped dood, "Catch ya later."
The dark straight-aways in Kansas were cold and uninviting on Friday night. I felt the need to take several breaks within a relatively short stretch of road. The sky was clear and I enjoyed a beautiful star-show at each stop and some weird sights as well. Back on the road I was feeling late-night road-warrior hypnosis and stopped at a rest area just before Russell. The sky was even more gorgeous without metal halide parking lot lights filtering the sky; I enjoyed a moment of clarity before I propped my legs on the bars. Soon I was snoozing; comfortable that my rain soaked encounter was a distant nightmare.
Spas R us
As I should’ve expected my bones were chilled when I woke. A restroom trip was in order and as I approached the structure I realized that what I thought were dogs barking in the distance was actually piped-in weather reports cycling over a PA emanating from the building. The announcement stated that a 50% chance of thunderstorms was forecast for Western Kansas/Eastern Colorado. After another quick look at the wall-to-wall pinpoints of light in the sky I called BS and proceeded.
I felt like I was going downhill after Russell but (according to Google Earth) elevation actually increased a little. The sparse traffic gave me a desire to crank the throttle and I settled into a high but sub-triple digit velocity. I was travelling with a white Japanese car that sometimes disappeared into the distance so I felt comfortably protected form speed traps but a little road weary.
Within a half an hour the white car disappeared for good. A thick fog hit and limited my visibility to the end of my headlight and, of course, the high beam was unusable. I soon resolved that the road was still navigable and continued my trip. The fog sometimes limited my view of the road to within the length of greenie's low beam but I kept moving. Stopping for gas in Oakley, KS I re-fueled, re-caffeinated, took some pictures and persevered.
Check this one out on the Internet
Eventually condensed fog penetrated my leathers. My suit felt like it gained ten pounds from the fog-moisture and at the next rest stop the weather PA was warning of the pea soup conditions in my vicinity. The computer-generated voices warned against using high beams and promised rain to the west. I donned my rainwear, made a waterproof passage for the electric vest and moved on.
Fog is floating rain, don’t fool yerself Rubba
Another series of sleep fights came before first light. I stopped for a fill-‘er-up break in Limon, CO and put my gloves in the truck stop dryer while I was munching on some biscuits and gravy. A gravely old truck driver recommended that I stop at Thunderbird truck stop on mile marker 295 to inquire about I-70 conditions west of Denver. He said that the fuel dispatcher keeps her finger on 70’s pulse for truckers and they’d be my best resource for a current update.
The chill in my body was persistent but gone by the time I was serviced and the sleep pangs had deserted my head as well. I warmed girl up and turned on the road that passed over 70 to my entrance ramp. Just before the bridge I ran up on the butt of an SUV. I dunno if he wasn’t moving, I was going too fast or I just had a brain fart but when I slowed for pokey I realized that he was a cop. I backed off and he continued directly on my planned route. Fatigued and overcautious I just stayed about a mile behind him until he took an exit a little further up the road. Just when I noticed that the fog had dissipated for the duration of this segment it reappeared in full force. Ambient light improved visibility but travelling in the fog was not fun.
Around mile marker 300 I passed that truck hauling the piano and he waved as I overtook him. Although I was watching for the Thunderbird truck stop I got trapped in the passing lane and had to double back to get my road report. Grrlfriend at the counter shrugged her shoulders and said she hadn’t heard anything so "70 must be fine." Back on the highway the fog had lifted to reveal some ugly rain clouds that soon unloaded another round of torment but navigating Denver was still fast and easy. 70 soon headed into a climb that slowed traffic into frustrating disarray but at the top I reveled in clear roads, clear skies and warming temperatures.
I stopped in Donnieville to get gas, Starbucks and strip down for some air-dry action. After I was disrobed to my long johns and leather pants I found the inside of my rainsuit wetter than the outside. Humidity must’ve been nonexistent because even in the cold-ish temperatures my gear was dry before the coffee cup was. I packed up and took off with a new attitude.
70 is an awesome roadway; fast, twisty and plenty to view. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the resorts making snow and the tree covered pinnacles surrounding the freeway. I had to be reminded to maintain correct attention when I saw a Highway Patrol Officer taking pictures at the bottom of a long pass.
I stopped again in Vail and had lunch at Safeway. Starbucks and a rare roast beef sandwich accompanied my conversation with Rozzi, a gnarly Vietnam veteran and talkative Harley aficionado. After a few story exchanges we parted ways and I was airborne again.
Rozzi, da main
I awoke out of my lane. The shock only mildly disrupted my desire for a nap. Just before Glenwood Springs I found a picturesque rest area where a foreign group was taking formal still pictures and recording an amateur music video. I returned from the restroom to find a huge orange sign indicating that the rest area was closed and some workers were refinishing the wooden benches. No one approached me so I stretched out on a piece of retaining wall for some shut-eye.
Much needed quiet time
In a couple of hours I was ready to go again. Helmeted in the saddle and ready to hit the start switch a KLR and Harley pulled into the lot and parked close to me. I removed my helmet and we briefly discussed the roads and our trips. They’d just done a tour through Arizona and up around Moab. The Denver residents told me that gas was available just around the corner and to be safe. I was haunted by my memory of the Harley rider’s face because I was sure that our paths had crossed before; in retrospect I regretted not asking his name but I was in go-mode at the time.
On departure I saw a passenger train in the backdrop of the rest area. Since I didn’t even realize the tracks were there I was surprised at the sighting. I was really sorry that my camera was not ready to catch the scene that reminded me of a model railroad layout. I got gas in Glenwood Springs and the road was a haze of passes, views and vehicles until Grand Junction but this gas and food stop left me wanting for more. I was reminded of my sore body when I spied an outlet for relief. I knew that if I gave into my whim I’d have to get a room and spend the night…so onward I went.
Another haze of I-70 and a stop in Green River, UT introduced me to another unexposed corner of our country. I talked to a mother of off-road riding boys at her Subway shop. The outpost had lots of visitors and offered excellent trail riding but all of her shopping was accomplished via the Internet. She said that her on-line shopping didn’t introduce hindrances to obtaining what she wanted and few returns were required.
70 west again but with an accumulation of funky cloud formations in the distance. Looking like the remanences of a previous day’s storms, some clouds were very low with unnatural shapes as they jetted towards the ground. I could see some isolated precipitation in the distance but some of it didn’t even survive the trip from cloud to ground. The terrain was varied and extremely entertaining, Black Dragon Canyon and the natural land formations around Fishlake National Forrest were more deserving of time and attention but my objective was to get to flatland straight-aways before nightfall.
Cresting the last pass before Salina the clouds that were on the horizon are now in plain view all the way to the horizon. Once across the 7,923-foot summit I saw that a dam of impervious mountains held an airborne blackness from eastward progression. On sighting I pulled over to don my raingear. The raindrops were already falling and I didn’t want to be saturated before protection from the elements cocooned me. I got frustrated when the straps wouldn’t let go of my gear and again at the suit's stubborn resistance to quickly unfold. Immediately I realized that temperature drop hardened my suit to unmanageable status and the seconds seemed like hours. Removing my boots to accommodate the passage of my foot through the pant legs exacerbated the cold my hands were enduring. I hadn’t experienced a situation like this since my last ski trip to The Wall on a windy February day. I slowly manipulated the suit over my leathers and by the time I was ready to put the gloves back on my fingers had become numb. The thick insulated and lined gloves were not too good for wet weather, and dry at the moment but the lining kinked under my finger’s entry blocking the passage of it into the glove’s outer covering. With cold, numb hands and the inability to get my fingers into the gloves I foresaw potentially serious problems. Don’t panic! With my free hand I wiggled the pinky finger of the glove in an attempt to resolve the blockage. Numb fingers provided no feedback and I couldn’t tell where the obstruction ended and the opening was actually located. I eventually forced my finger into the hole, feeling a lump of the blockage move uncomfortably to one side. I couldn’t get my fingers correctly aligned due to the lump but at least I got both gloves on and was able to get moving.
I feared that ice could be forming from the precipitation and cautiously progressed. Soon road construction funneled the freeway down to two lanes and I came onto a row of cars trapped behind a slow moving vehicle. I took place in line behind them but quickly had a high-beamed azz too close on my butt. I was angry and attempted to communicate to the driver that he should dim his lights or back off. I raised my elbows to block the beams but quickly tired of the uncomfortable position. Then I redirected my mirrors so his headlights wouldn’t reflect into my eyes but the beams were still burning the back of my neck. I even made shadow figures with my clutch hand on the mountainside but he still didn’t get it. Paranoia set it and I visualized a 25-vehicle pile up caused by me slipping on the road and too close dood smashes into my slide putting me at the bottom of the pile. In the dense traffic, freezing rain and single-lane pass I slowed to a crawl and eased my bike between the construction cones to wait for the end of the line. After a couple minutes I got back on the highway to enjoy an unimpeded and fast trip to the bottom of the now much warmer and drier pass.
|10-23-2007, 11:32 PM||#4|
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: US 101 and I-380 overpass, third "I" beam
After dropping 3,000 feet I arrived at Salina, UT, and my turn onto US 50. I saw truck-dood stopping at the first gas station…I had to tell myself firmly, "KEEP GOING ROB." I stopped at the Sinclair Station a little further down, got caffeine, gassed up and got back to my task. I thought Scipio might be a good place to stop for information about the upcoming desolate parts and got another cuppa. The Mom and Pop’s gas station/restaurant had a couple of locals seated inside and they volunteered the information I was seeking.
"What’s the speed limit on 50 west of here?"
"Can you go faster?"
The guy looked at his watch and said "Yeah, you can now."
The Utah terrain made a straight shot from Scipio to Nevada impossible. A zig down I-15 followed by a zag back up to Delta was required before encountering the sparseness of the "Loneliest Highway." When no cars were in view I made pretty quick passage. I could see the cars for miles on those straights and even when I cautiously backed off for oncoming headlights it was so far in advance that the timeframe seemed monotonous. In Delta I refilled the tank and was stoked since I hadn’t encountered Law Enforcement. Inside the station the funky two-franchise single diner was closing. I wasn’t sure if I was hungry so grabbed a coffee and candy bar. I forgot to ask some questions at the last stop so talked to the cashier, "are there any wildlife of substantial size west of here?
"Elk and deer. Sometimes you see one or two and sometimes you don’t."
"Elk are pretty big aren’t they?"
"Yeah, they get up to about 800 pounds. You’re not headed that way tonight are you?"
I gassed up, lubed the chain and checked the lights and oil. During the process a Sheriff’s SUV circled the block and stopped short of the stop sign next to the station. Slowly, my butt started eating my drawers and I attempted to act nonchalant as the occupants eyeballed my activities. They pulled away as I finished and I breathed a sigh of relief. I saw several cars headed to west 50 and hoped that they lived close by so I could just take care of getting home unimpeded.
On the outskirts of Delta the road was flat and straight, similar to 50 into town. I was travelling at a pretty good clip when several cars’ taillights came into view. I backed off and all of the cars turned off within a few miles. Now I had the road to myself, I enabled all forward lighting and twisted the fun stick. 50 had a few well-marked turns so I increased my velocity in graduations conducive to my comfort level. Eventually I arrived at speeds that required super-human strength to hang on so I backed off. I stopped for a quick relief break and adjusted the front bag to allow for a lower profile. In a little while I was going through a mountain pass followed by another round of warp-speed straights. Soon I saw a group of lights that looked like a bunch of cars strewn across the highway and had flashing lights on their roofs. The only reason that my imagination would allow for a roadblock at the state line was my speed. Should I stop and check the map for an alternative route? Should I play stupid and tell the cops about being passed by some moron on a green sportbike? I kept going and as the distance was closed in I saw the lights spread out into the compound that was a casino, restaurant, gas station and flashing sign, "Eat here" or whatever and no popos in sight. Double-whew.
I remembered correctly there was no fuel before Nevada so it was a good thing I filled up in Delta. I got gas and was entertained by the scene outside. Drunken grrlfriend had a whole group of guys around her in the parking lot. The guys were buzzing around her like flies on poop and she was making loud, obnoxious comments about their anatomy and her potential for fun; seeing a rider in green boots must’ve tickled her. She yelled out something about Aquaman’s super human stamina and how delicious he must be in bed. I had a laugh as I went inside to warm up.
The group outside piled into a car that came out of nowhere and a voice called out to me. "Hey, that was some pretty nasty weather before Salina!"
"Yeah, I froze my butt off getting my wet weather gear on. It must’ve been freezing."
"Nah, I don’t think it was even close." I wasn’t going to argue with the dude and we talked until I was warm. It was kind of weird that he was driving a trash truck from Denver to Reno but he said there was some kind of trade show and his truck was cutting-edge technology for the garbage collecting discipline. "One man drives the truck, picks up the cans, dumps them and puts them back on the curb…rides rough though."
"Maybe if you were hauling a thousand pounds of trash?"
"Nah, have to be more ballast than that. The thing weighs 13,000 pounds itself."
"Huuuh. Gotta go…"
Back on 50 I continued my rapid transit but quickly found myself on another mountain pass. "Man, this is a steep and twisty roadway" I thought it’d be fun if it were during the day and it weren’t so friggin cold. After several intervals of straights and mountains I found myself arriving in civilization again in the form of Ely, NV. In side the station I was thinkin' that baggy-pants, sideways ball cap wearin’ dood behind the counter was awful small. When I got to the counter I was shocked to see a cute little girl under the garb. To each his own. The restaurant section was closed so I asked if it was OK for me to sit for a while and warm up. She was more interested in her book and just nodded approval.
I didn’t think that I needed gas but questioned my sanity after I was on the road for fifteen minutes of blazing speed. I backed off and considered the ramifications of my situation. "Never go back" I thought and proceeded. Soon the road seemed to be endless switchbacks and I knew I was in trouble when I switched over to reserve. The road signs indicated several towns but which ones are towns and which ones are a shack on the side of the road? A couple of towns came and went with no sign of life and I was sweating it. I kept passing deer warning signs and finally come across one that had an added "frequent sightings next 1.5 miles" addendum under the deer diamond. Sure enough, about eight deer were bouncing around on the left side of the road as I rounded a right-handed curve. Cold and tired I switched off the engine going downhill to conserve fuel. I must’ve been confused because several times when I thought I was going downhill I quickly slowed and had to restart the engine to maintain my pace. The next indicated "town" was Eureka and I couldn’t remember if it had gas or not.
Still having a number of miles to go I cautiously moved toward my destination. The twisties were very technical and required total focus in the dark of night. I was chilled to the bone, hoping for gas and considering stopping for the "night" if I even made it to town. The cold pain in my bones was extreme but supplanted by my desire for sleep. I woke in a tight twisty section headed straight for the other side of the road and quickly pushed the right grip forward to get back over. That was it, I knew that I couldn’t go on.
I was coasting downhill and saw a sign for the Highway Patrol office and a small town coming up. The gas station was a welcome site and I knew it would be configured for nighttime use. Stopping in front of the pump I vocalized the pain of putting my cold feet down to support the bike. I put the kickstand down and had to pause to allow my feet to get accustomed to carrying my body. After a moment I was able to get up and start refueling. Pull out the card, swipe the pump…"see cashier" came up on the display. I was fit to be tied; that darn travelling credit card issue with Chevron bit me in the butt. I doubted that there was another station in town and was angry, angry, angry, cold and tired. I started the bike and moved down the road, soon another pump came into view. I filled the tank and waited while "printing receipt" was accomplished. The ticket came out blank but I didn’t care, I was right next to a Best Western. Late-night movie boy was taking a smoke break during a commercial and suggested that I see the night attendant inside. The receptionist informed me that they were full, "sorry."
I told her I couldn’t go on and she called the other hotel in town; "They’re full too. You can sleep on the couch, I’ll get a blanket." Smoke break guy said that I could share his room; "I’m not gay or anything." I didn’t want to create problems with paying customers or be disturbed by early-risers getting their coffee so I told Daniel that I’d take him up on his offer and he took me to his room. I said "Look, I snore really bad."
"Me too, don’t worry about it…hey, don’t steal any of my stuff."
"NP dood, I just want to sleep and be on my way. If you’re asleep in the morning I’ll just quietly leave."
"Right on, here’s the remote, I’m gonna go back downstairs and watch TV with the receptionist."
"Cool, goodnight." I pulled off my leathers and succumbed to a black void.
In my dream world I experienced a momentary white flash. Later I awoke to a quickly opened drape on the bright Sunday morning, I realized that the flash I had encountered earlier was the drape opening and quickly closing. "Daniel, what time is it?"
"Wow, I thought I’d be up and gone by now. Did the maid come and make your bed?"
"I didn’t sleep in it last night."
"Right on, how’d it go?"
"I just stayed up watching TV."
"I must’ve slept pretty hard?"
"I thought you were going to suck the ceiling in."
With that I started getting dressed.
"Hey, do you want to take a shower?"
I was perplexed since he woke me I thought he wanted me out. "Nah, I need to get on the road."
"How long have you been going?"
"I started in DC Thursday at noon and this is my first real stop."
"Three days on the road, you need a shower dude."
I disregarded his insistence and asked if cash compensation was in order. "Sure, you can help me out."
"Here." I handed him two twenties.
"Well, these rooms are over $100 a night…"
I just kind of stared blankly back at him and thanked him for his kindness.
Then he replied "I ain’t gonna do you that way" and gave me a twenty back.
I thanked him and departed like my ass was on fire.
Poop, no coffee left. I rolled greenie onto the street and warmed her up. After ensuring that everything was in order I noticed that a truck pulling a massive second home-trailer was making a U into my path. I didn’t want to be stuck behind him so snicked her into gear and slipped past the behemoth. From Nevada the rest of the way home was uneventful. The returning weekend traffic was heavy and stopped in places but I easily slipped past with the ZRX’ power, agility and my ability to legally split lanes in my home state of California.
6,750 miles total, 2800 in three days, six hours.
I was scheduled to start my new job on Monday but was delayed until Wednesday...that's another story.
|10-24-2007, 02:21 AM||#5|
Joined: May 2003
Excellent report, thanks for posting. Will have to read it in more detail once I have more time. You've got a good eye for detail, some of these photos are outstanding.
|10-24-2007, 09:06 AM||#8|
Joined: Jul 2006
Location: 427 miles ENE of Orla Texas
Tony Eeds aka Teeds - Proud member of the Peanut Gallery and the Pajama Economy
Good roads bring bad people
Bad roads bring good people
we are NOT human beings having a spiritual experience, rather we ARE spiritual BEINGS having a human experience - johnjen
|10-24-2007, 09:32 AM||#9|
Seat belt tight babe?
Joined: Aug 2005
Nice Rex!! Welcome and Thanks for sharing your adventure.
Do you support the sport? How do you give back?
|10-26-2007, 11:14 PM||#11|
Joined: Nov 2006
"When she shakes it you can see her..." (I can't post the other pictures of her in this thread.)
Yes you can. Let's see 'em.
BMW 650 KDX 220 TS 400
If they can't hear you, they won't know you're there.
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