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Old 03-01-2009, 04:56 PM   #196
dr. jones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ciampa
Smart move leaving black death at home, I don't think the orchestral world is ready for it. Wait until you have secured the position, then right before your big solo, pull out black death and bring the house down.
HAHAHA! good one - a big viola solo - i'm still laughing!

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Old 03-03-2009, 09:59 AM   #197
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Originally Posted by dr. jones
HAHAHA! good one - a big viola solo - i'm still laughing!
My sister used to tease me about that, like "how often does a viola solo happen, I mean really?!?!" Now it happens to me all the time!


Okay, I'm busy collecting a TON of material to write about and hundreds of pictures, but no time to put it together... when I do, it's gonna be a good read! This report is FAR from over!
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:18 PM   #198
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nice to hear from you again - thought you gave up on us.
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:48 PM   #199
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wow, what a great read. Thanks for taking the time to write it up! I love it.
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Old 03-05-2009, 04:59 PM   #200
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I've been going through the thread.....its a been a great read so far! Interesting to hear what a professional musician goes through.

The topic strikes a definite chord with me: I play guitar, and have a carbon fiber travel guitar (Emerald Life X5) that joins me for all my travels. I'm not certain I could ever play professionally, though: I've already lost two of what used to be my favorite hobbies because I made them into a successful profession.

I admire you a lot for being able to make your way as a professional musician, and more for successfully combining it with riding!
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:36 AM   #201
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great rr, educational + entertaining... who knew there were so many viola jokes , it's great to have a serious group like pro classical musicians demystified
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:55 AM   #202
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viola-tor
My sister used to tease me about that, like "how often does a viola solo happen, I mean really?!?!" Now it happens to me all the time!


Okay, I'm busy collecting a TON of material to write about and hundreds of pictures, but no time to put it together... when I do, it's gonna be a good read! This report is FAR from over!

......Uh Oh....are you falling into the 'I promise I will update,' but never will steryotype!!

Give us some Orange Beast picture love!

W
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Old 04-02-2009, 09:31 PM   #203
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A-HEM!!! Where was I? So much for my plan of keeping this report ďin real time.Ē Ha! However, when you guys see what Iíve been up to I think youíll forgive me. I hope so anyway! Itís been a full and fun couple of months.

I know that this ride is going to be different. Itís not going to have beautiful waterfalls or challenging terrain, no jagged mountain peaks or twisty canyon roads. No, itís going to be introspective touring. With my viola on my back I will calmly guide my orange steed (who will no doubt be chomping at the bit!) along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in a law-abiding manner to my destination(s). Sound boring? Read on...

First I sell my computer. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Iíll buy a new one when I get settled in Florida. Another reason itís been a while since Iíve posted.

Delivery to the new buyer:




And away I ride! Itís cold. I know you northerners donít believe me, but you have snow on the ground to force you to come to terms with the cold. All my pictures look sunny and nice, but cold is cold. I think freezing counts as cold. My ďsisterĒ in San Antonio made me a batch of delicious rolls to take with me which kept me alive for several days. My first stop (and an indication of what is to come), FLATONIA!!! I wish I was kidding.



The rolls, made almost entirely of butter, with a little help from McDís jelly and honey packets:




As I near the coast I enter what is obviously oil country. Nothing to see, nothing to do unless you are involved with the oil business. I have a lot of these pics.





I start taking pics of the road and bridges to keep myself occupied, even though I know they wonít be very interesting or engaging photos.






Iím the only motorcyclist out, everyone in their right mind is huddled in their cage. Apparently this is one of the coldest ďsnapsĒ that this part of the country has seen in a long time.

I pull over to watch this tanker coming in, kicking up a pretty big wake. Iím a little surprised at how fast itís moving, I dunno why. I admit Iím a total land-lubber, the ways of the sea are pretty mysterious to me.



This gal had to stand out there in the cold and direct traffic, sucks, but she was nice enough and of course wondered why I would ride a motorcycle for fun today. ďCause thatís what I do!Ē



As I ride deeper into Louisiana I see more and more hurricane damage from one storm or another. In these small communities itís pretty obvious that there isnít the money or resources to clean up and rebuild completely after every storm. Kinda sad. I saw folks just milling around, on foot or in cars, looking lost. Most gutted houses had a mobile home or trailer parked beside it.





This elementary school was really depressing. I was tempted to ride down the halls and fulfill a rebellious boyhood fantasy, but I though better of it for fear of a certain flat tire, or two.





There was a group of about twelve adults standing in a circle behind the school on the football field, just standing there silently. Weird. Maybe praying together? It kinda reminded me of that movie ďThe Happening.Ē

Even the fancy beach houses looked sad. I cruised into a couple of beach residence communities and they seemed just as desolate as the houses by the main road. I did help myself to some beach riding, however! Yay!





I experienced another first with my bike too! A ferry crossing:



Now itís time to consider where Iím gonna sleep tonight. It occurred to me that I could probably set up my tent on the beach anywhere since obviously no one was around to shoo me away, but I changed my mind thinking that my bright, orange, reflective European motorcycle might make me a target for desperate folks in desperate situations. No, I think a real campground is a better bet. The problem is that in this part of the country they are apparently rare... After consulting a map I point the bike at Sam Houston Jones Sate Park outside of Lake Charles, Louisiana, which isnít exactly on my way, but itís all I can find. I set up the tent in the dark and climb into my new Marmot sleeping bag for itís first field test.

Good night!
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:57 AM   #204
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Brrrrrrrrr... A brisk morning!



My new sleeping bag is rated for 35 degrees, and I’d say that’s about accurate, I was a little chilled at 30 degrees, but I wasn’t wearing much, I’ll make sure to have more layers on in the nights to come.

Some frost on the tent and the bike:





Motorcycle camping makes one appreciate the little things, kinda the “you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone” thing. Or something... Like warm air over cold fingers, ahhhhhh....



I’ll have a look around the park while I eat my butter rolls for breakfast. Cool bayou trees:



The bike was a little sluggish, but it started, so let’s roll! My goal is New Orleans for tonight.

When I was embarking on this trip several of my colleagues voiced concerns about traveling alone in the deep south far from the interstate “with all the crazies.” Right. Everyone I met along the back roads of Louisiana said I should watch out for “all the crazies” that drive on the interstate. Hmmmm... I had no shortage of advice from locals along the way with directions, dining, and warnings for speed traps.

I’ve got my heart set on some gumbo in the Big Easy, and I’ll be staying with friend, but she’s not available until night time, so I have some time to kill in the city below sea level. I’ve gotta see Bourbon Street, just because, right?



Heh, Female Impersonators?!? I didn’t notice that in the pic until just now! LOL!

I don’t go in any place because I don’t want to leave my bike un-secured, but I am curious... I ride up and down a number of times and enjoy some “wow, cool motorcycle!” attention from civilians, but that fun only lasts about five minutes, so as it gets dark I start riding around more and more of the city. One hottie on Bourbon street asks me "what's all that behind you?" I say: "Camping gear, I'm traveling across the country!" She looks a little confused, but then traffic starts moving and only then I realize she probably meant my viola case! Sometimes I forget I even have it, and it is an odd sight I'm sure! I don’t want to abandon my bike and gear, and it’s too cold to just sit outside with it, so I keep the electric vest plugged in and the wheels turning, with no particular destination.

I find a big city park that has a soccer game going on, so I pull up to the service entrance fence and hang out a while, taking short walks to stay warm. Might as well shoot some pics...





Finally Mollie calls, and I ride to meet her. Damn I’m hungry!
Mollie is a fabulous horn player and hilarious friend. We met when she came to sub with the San Antonio Symphony after her house was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans was in shambles. Now she has a new pad and is back in action! Let’s eat! But first, the lottery:



Normally I only gamble with my life (motorcycle) and career (classical music?!?!), never with real money, but we had a good time buying lotto tickets. We must’ve been a sight: two highly trained and educated people who can’t figure out how to fill out lotto tickets. Heh!

Oh, baby! That’s what I’m talking about!



Mmmm, going to bed with a belly full of rice, beans, and seafood. Nice.

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Old 04-03-2009, 10:15 AM   #205
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Excellent!!

Missed your reports, glad to see you posting again.
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:49 AM   #206
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Originally Posted by viola-tor


Remember....Keep the Red Bouys on the right when you are returning to port!! Otherwise you will run aground!!
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Old 04-03-2009, 08:16 PM   #207
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viola-tor
Oh, baby! Thatís what Iím talking about!



Mmmm, going to bed with a belly full of rice, beans, and seafood. Nice.
He's Baaack....

Welcome back Viola-tor! After looking at this photo I suddenly need to be back in the Big Easy! Nothin' like Cajun and Creole cookin'!
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:57 PM   #208
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Ahhh, sleeping in and eating a huge breakfast seems like the right thing to do in the Big Easy. Even in Mollie’s new neighborhood which wasn’t hit by the flood waters there are still empty houses, all these years later. We walk past a few on the way to breakfast.



Mmmm, mmmm! Let’s sit with the musicians, shall we?



Time to roll! One thing I wanted to do was see a famed New Orleans above-ground cemetery (partly because of the one in Easy Rider, admittedly). I find one downtown that I can motor right into! Pretty interesting...



I’m trying to avoid I-10, but it just happens to go exactly where I’m heading, so occasionally I hop on for a few miles where going the “moto” way is impossible or a huge PITA. I start to get into the beach-resort areas on the Gulf, which are sort of like the suburbia of the ocean. All these places look the same! Same souvenir shop, same restaurants, same high-rise condos. All for a little sand. I don’t quite get it, but it’s still really cold, maybe it has a totally different feel when it’s warm and the bikinis are abundant...



Hmmm, this beach is totally deserted, and I don’t see any signs forbidding motorcycles... Should I????



Looks like a big orange side-winder got loose on this beach!



Sheesh, it feels strange to be on loose material after so many pavement miles. It seems that I definitely require dirt “warm up” time, kinda like my viola playing, can’t expect to jump right in and be at the top of my game.

I hook up with the Interstate for a few miles in Alabama and THIS guy strikes up a conversation with me. He’s DUH-RUNK, and tells me he kicked his buddy out of his car a few miles away because the bastard spilled his beer. Meaning the driver. The passenger spilled the driver’s beer. The crazies really are on the interstate...



Check out the teeth!



This guy spooked me at first, but after I got him laughing and impressed with my bike I wasn’t too worried, as long as he wasn’t behind the wheel.

Eventually I tell him I have to get going, and he asks for some money, so I hand him fifty cents and he hops in his car and drives off... Amazing. Alabama Interstate. I give him plenty of space before I leave.

I’m kinda bummed, I naively imagined that I’d be setting up a tent on beaches along the way, but it seems that most are so heavily developed that there are restrictions to protect the SAND of all things. I guess it’s worth a lot of money. Now it’s dark again and I have to figure something out.



After a couple tries at RV parks (which I don’t prefer), I find one that has a tent specific area. A nice but suspicious host lady gives me a discount, perhaps cause it’s late and cold and I’m on a motorcycle, and I set up in the trees as far from RVs as I can get (there aren’t many). This time I put on several layers before bedding down. It’s still cold! I have the mummy bag closed around my nose, and even that feels like a piercing spike of cold invading my sleep.

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Old 04-04-2009, 06:28 AM   #209
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Old 04-04-2009, 09:27 PM   #210
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The thermometer doesn’t look much different than the last couple of days, but it feels colder this morning. BRRRRRRRRRRR!!! I’m on the coast for real now, and I’m going to stick to it as much as possible until I turn north hoping to make Tallahassee tonight.

Packing up:



I haven’t had any problems with the KTM since I learned of the 2 minute idle trick, which is a warm-up period that lets the fuel injection computer boot up properly. I usually start the bike before I put on my helmet, gloves, sunglasses and that does the trick.

Thumb the starter... Re-eer, re-eeer, reee...

And that’s all she’s got. Battery too cold. Damn. I try a few more times, but I know the juice won’t magically appear. I push the bike fifty yards down the road to a sunny spot, hoping the solar energy will breath some warm life into my bike.

Okay, this side is looking warm:



I think it’s about done, let’s turn it over!



While I wait I might as well finish off these delicious rolls!



The temp on the thermometer eventually reads eight degrees higher or so (all the way up to 40!), but no dice, the battery is having none of it.
About this time the campground host I met last night drives by in her car to see if I’m alright. I explain the situation and she offers to round up some jumper cables from the RV-ers. Sweet! I start accessing the battery:



The guy who ends up jumping my bike is a former rider who was rear-ended in California 30 years ago and has a wicked 19th-century-looking leg brace and a crooked spine. We swap a few tales, and it’s obvious that to me that he’s still a rider at heart, but his accident took that away from him. Now he travels around via truck and RV. He reminds me to watch out. No kidding...

Thanks Sun Runners RV park! Once again, Motorcycles bring people together!



Oh god, I couldn’t help myself (sooo bad):



Heh, you’d think they’d love me here!



And here!



I started to hallucinate a bit from the cold. Is it sand or snow? It’s so cold...



Drat! On the map this road goes through from an island, but construction turns me around. I wish they would’ve told me that at the toll gate.



Finally I veer off of the coast line and head inland towards Tallahassee. In the middle of the woods I come across a really nice KTM dealership, crazy! I stop in to see if they happen to have that screwy tank washer I lost on hand (fat chance). It was a nice visit anyway!



Ahhh, at last! One of my oldest, bestest friends, Brent, who has home brew beer and a guitarron waiting for me when I arrive. I’ve always wanted to try one of those things...



Brent wants to try the Black Death. He likey!



And my old nemesis, Sterling the cat. We hate each other with equal disdain. His old age hasn’t made him any nicer. I see right through your act, Sterling, oh yes. I’ll be sleeping with one eye open...


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