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Old 11-09-2012, 08:58 AM   #781
Mr Head
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Man, it's great to see another installment from you and your travels. I'm stuck out here in the valley of the sun freezing my back teeth sharing space with a server.
And missing my bike and the real desert.
Death Valley is one of my favorite places to explore.

Looking forward to more,

Thanks!
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:00 AM   #782
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Great update! May I have some more, please, sir?
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:01 PM   #783
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So glad to get a chance to catch up on the RR. Death Valley has been added to my list of probably winter destinations this year...
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:45 PM   #784
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Location: Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
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We’ve reached our turn-around point, so we load up and take the scenic route out the north side of Death Valley.

Art time! From other ride-reports I know that a stop at the Ryolites is a requisite.






The carpet matches the drapes... The pic doesn’t show the scale, this statue is HUGE. She’s a big ‘ole gal!




I love this kind of Wild West art. The locals surely roll their eyes, but you gotta admit that seeing these imaginative and severely out-of-place pieces in locations like this are memorable and make people stop and think, at least for a bit... As an artist that is usually all you can ask.

Cool sofa:




So onward we ride, pointing the bike back towards southern Arizona. Its cold. Maybe its a cumulative thing from being “out” so long, but we are having trouble dealing with the chill today, even with all the extra reserve layers we brought along and heated vests cranking away.

When its cold like this the bike pulls over where it wants to. We get gas and there is an IHOP across the street, so we kill a couple hours eating disappointing eggs and pancakes, then getting ripped off at the register for all the little “a la carte” things we shouldn’t have had to ask for. (Yes, I recognize the irony that I’m complaining about the breakfast bill at the International House of Pancakes only days after blowing a week’s wages on dinner in Vegas, but the glaring differences is that I GOT what I paid for at Joel Robechon’s and DID NOT at IHOP.) I make a vow right then and there that I will never eat at IHOP again, unless it would be bad social karma for some reason, or maybe-just-maybe at 3:00am after a night of drinking. But that is different...

L.F. thinks my attire is humorous today.




All that time and money and IHOP and we are immediately cold again when we get on the bike. Brrrr-Grrrr...

One last night of camping if all goes well! Some state park, I can’t remember now, and it doesn’t really matter as it is dark when we arrive and we will pack up and leave first thing in the morning. Sometimes, even doing something as incredible as motorcycle camping, you just simply want a place to lie down.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:23 AM   #785
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viola-tor View Post
I've taken my mighty KTM to some of the highest navigable points in the country, and now the lowest too. Mission accomplished!
that's life for ya, full of high and low points, hopefully more of the former
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:51 PM   #786
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Just found your thread and caught up ...

Our teacher back at the academy used to say our discipline was more demanding than that of engineers and physicians. And that we ought to be paid as much as a neurosurgeon.
We thought her to be very funny.
And when she retired we threw a big party and many tears, for we felt deserted on one hand and thrilled on the other for having had a real teacher. The one that can kickstart your engine, even do a rebuild.

Over the years I learned that she was right.
I learned also this that the only sacrifice one will regret is the one one didn't make.

You expressed doubt about combining high level performing with hard core motoring.
How would you rate introducing a segment of society with something so strange and elusive as music and finding out you made a following?

Just to say, you did good.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:39 AM   #787
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Diek- thought you may appreciate this link to the concert I went to last night at the Kennedy Center, Afghan Youth Orchestra from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. Was truly inspirational to see these young kids play Vivaldi using traditional instruments and all the pride and excitement that they and the Afghan expats in the audience showed. Perhaps one day when Afghanistan becomes safe to ride we'll get to see the Viola-tor jamming the viola with the kids of ANIM

http://www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/videos/?id=M5339

p.s. fwiw Russian violonist Mikhail Simonyan steps in at 31min mark
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:06 PM   #788
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Rain, rain... We’ve been outrunning the bad weather for the entire trip (quite skillfully I might add!), but with it advancing at us from three directions we now have no choice but to face it. The final day of our “Christmas of Death” ride will be a cold, wet one.

Ahhh, so THIS is where we slept! Seems like a nice little place.




We are appreciative of the roof where we can pack up our gear without it getting all wet. (yes, it is raining in these pics)




I love my gear. So many miles, and so many adventures have honed my “rig” that I feel ready for nearly any condition that might arise, and Lady Firebird has her shit together too! But I just can’t help it: As with so many of us that partake in this crazy hobby we can’t just leave well enough alone! We must, must keep tinkering, modifying, searching for that perfect bit of kit that will elevate us to the sublime pinnacle of riding nirvana...

Or something like that.

The rain-suit has been a focus point for me as of late. I’ve never been a fan, and frankly don’t understand, the trend of these high-end motorcycle suits that have waterproof liners UNDER the suit itself. Why? I mean, yeah, great, my skin is dry, but after a heavy rain I now have a soggy one-hundred pound buffalo hide clinging to my body that leaves puddles if I go inside a building/home. And while camping what do I DO with this soggy carcass while I sleep? I certainly don’t want it in the tent with me. Hang it in a tree to continue to get rained on? What if it freezes solid and I can’t get in it? And donning cold wet cordura first thing in the morning doesn’t sound like a very nice way to spend the day... Plus it will take hours to dry out.

So, from day one with my fancy Rev’It suit the liners have lived in a bag in my closet and I’ve opted to wear over-suits, which admittedly also have short comings, but keep me and my clothes largely separated from the rain. Call me crazy, but isn’t that the point??

Very early on in my motorcycling I bought a first generation Froggs-Toggs suit at Cabela’s after being attracted to its breathable and packable qualities, but soon abandoned it because it wasn’t motorcycle engineered. It was geared more to hunters/hikers and wasn’t up to the task of 70 mph water deflection (closures, hood, ankle cuffs, etc). “If they ever design one with the motorcyclist in mind...” I said to myself.

Lo and behold, they did, and I bought for this trip! Hi-Viz green even! (I’ve also never understood why one would want a black or grey rain suit on a motorcycle. Yikes! I’m all for matchy-matchy and looking good on the ride, but in the rain survival definitely takes priority for this rider!) Today it gets tested, and thoroughly.

Rain, rain rain. After knocking out a hundred miles or so our hot meal and warm-up session for the day is this absolutely charming eatery in Benson Arizona: The Horseshoe Cafe.




We pull a good laugh as we breech the door as all the local heads turn to look at the soggy dogs slinking in. We’re shouting as our earplugs are still installed but despite this we quickly develop a rapport with the owners who are super friendly. We apologize for the mess we are creating on their floor, and let them know we plan on staying for a while, longer than the typical meal. “That’ll be just fine, make yourselves comfortable!” is the best response we were hoping for!

Home-town cooking, damn I love it! Yum yum, and the hot coffee keeps on coming. I definitely recommend this place.




We chat, look at maps, talk to the locals, debate the weather, and let a couple hours pass. Eventually we run out of excuses and have to go back out into the chilly rain for the final leg back to southern Arizona.

I swear it has gotten colder. The idea of killing time was that it would be warmer out here! Dang it. We never turn the heated vests off and are wearing every darn layer we can, but this chill can’t be outrun. Eventually we are forced onto the interstate system (blech), and sure enough end up in a construction zone with both feet down in the middle of nowhere for a good long while, which leads to a situation I was really hoping to avoid: rush-hour traffic in Phoenix, in the dark, in the rain. Oh, and tired too. Yay. Welcome back to “civilization!”

It’s about this time the Froggs-Toggs starts failing. Maybe it’s okay for an hour or two of light to moderate rain, but the all day hose-fest is showing the weaknesses. I can feel my lower torso getting damp and cold, then downright wet, and my hiking boots are filling with ice water (which is no fault of the suit). We just want to get home, and the last two hours to Tucson are torturous. I’m shivering, but short of stopping for a hotel (no way!) there is really nothing to be done but pound it out.

After pushing the bike into the yard L.F. opens the door for me and I hop into the bathtub to take off the gear and pour out my boots as not to get water all over the floor.

What a ride!

So yeah, Froggs-Toggs = fail in my opinion. Firebird was dry and warm in her Tourmaster plastic over suit, only cold feet in her hiking boots like me. Her smug grin says it all. Someday I’ll learn... Thrill of the chase, eh fellas?

I think there will be a nice New Year’s dinner for us as a reward for a trip well done! Lobster, hand-made pasta, cheese and wine...



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Old 03-08-2013, 12:01 AM   #789
Katoom119
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I thought you'd been abducted by aliens or something.

Good finish to this section of the story. Now you're only, what, a year behind?
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Old 03-08-2013, 03:57 AM   #790
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It was nice to see an addition to your thread this morning. Hope there are more tales to come.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:09 AM   #791
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I finally finished catching up on this RR after I heard about it some time ago. Great report! I played Alto Saxophone until the end of high school but decided I liked the sciences better so I turned towards chemistry in college. I still have a love for all sorts of music to this day. Music amazes me as it's one of the few things in this world (along with math and science ) that completely ignores all cultural boundaries. Thanks for spreading the love and for taking us along for the ride.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:28 AM   #792
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You gotta get yourself some waterproof gear.

I recently got new gear, the First Gear Kathmandu jacket and pants. Hypertex (much like Gortex) built into the outer layer, so everything else says dry. So far so good, though I have not given it the West Virginia test yet. Not the cheapest stuff out there, but I think it is a good value with all the features included.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:43 AM   #793
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Awesome!...Please keep us apprised of your Concert schedule this spring/summer. I have B&B In Sedona should the opportunity ever present itself by desire or necessity..fo you guys or an ADV Bi-wheeled Moto Travelers
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:33 AM   #794
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Rain Gear

I'm with you. I never have understood the waterproof liner under the main shell approach either. I bought an Aerostich Darien jacket and pants 10 years ago and they're still going strong after 100k miles. I've updated the armor and sent it back to have a couple of seams resealed, but the thing has been absolutely bomb proof. I've even taught a couple of very wet MSF BRC classes in it. Expensive, but then I haven't had to buy anything new in 10 years.
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:51 AM   #795
Blader54
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Nice to see a new posting from you, Violator....any chance that this summer will see the carbon viola and you creating music from some new heights? Maybe a duet with LF? Don't be a stranger.
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