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Old 11-09-2008, 12:57 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by Wildabeast
Man, I am SO jealous! That Adventure sure is pretty! I have your same "horde, spend big when the time is right" mentality. So I'm hoping a nice Orange Beast is in my future too.

Looking forward to the rest of your adventure!
Oh yeah man! Thanks, she IS purty! Save those pennies, it's SOOOO worth it. This bike is ridiculous...
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:39 PM   #77
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Owwwwwww... Morning hurts when one has a hang-over and itís almost 100 degrees by 9:30 a.m. Mrumph-frumphple, letís ride. Arghlemfle.



Eastward, ho! At least after Ken shows me how to check the oil on my bike and I buy a quart to top off. Weíre in such poor shape we take the WRONG highway out of town for ten miles before realizing, even with his GPS. Donít worry, weíre professionals, we know exactly what weíre doing...

More of this:



And this:



In such arid conditions we all need to do our part to protect and hydrate the native plant species:



Well! how do you really feel?!?





At a gas stop a cashier-man has his ďspecialĒ child with him behind the counter who wants to know whatís in my pack. I tell him Iíll show them what it is, but that they would have to trade me something since Iím a professional (I did this in a charming way, not being a jerk). He says I can take my pick of an ice-cream bar (but felt it necessary to tell me I would have to pay for my gas!) , so I whip out the Black Death right there in the convenience store and proceeded to play Bach and Schubert, two of my stand-byís. The boy is naturally thrilled, and everyone else seems puzzled and/or amazed. A strange performance situation to be sure, but thatís part of this whole experiment: becoming comfortable playing in less than ideal environments and situations at a moments notice. Itís surprisingly difficult, and riding a motorcycle for hundreds of miles with a hang-over doesnít put me in the best possible physical state to perform well, but again, thatís part of the challenge!

As we leave Ken says, ďWell, hey! You got some free ice-cream out of the deal!Ē To which I reply, ďNo, I worked for it! Thereís a difference...Ē A lifetime of learning to play an instrument for a $1.50 ice-cream isnít exactly a living. I wish more people understood that.

Ken had been complaining about a front-wheel wobble problem since yesterday, and he kept trying to talk me into selling my Scorpion tires to him. ďAre you really gonna carry those all the way back to Texas? Really???Ē



He was subtle (not!), but he finally wore me down when we reached our split up point at this Yamaha/KTM dealer which didnít carry tire sizes for the 950 Adventure. Okay, fine... I know that when I get back to Texas Iíll most likely end up buying a set of these exact tires for double the price, but oh well! It will be nice to not be schlepping them for the next few weeks, and thereís a friend in need. Moto-Karma!

I left DaddyBigDaddy at the shop with his bike on the lift getting my barely used shoes put on and turned north to go up the west side of the Utah Lake (Provo Lake?), a route Iíve never taken before. Ken invited me to ride with him to Colorado for some trails, which was very, very tempting, but Logan calls. Iím sure I could learn a lot from riding with him and his friends, perhaps we can meet up again.

Riding behind the lake:





I hate riding I-25 through Salt Lake City, but thereís really no other way through that corridor that doesnít add hours I donít have for today, so slab it up, baby!

Finally I arrive in Logan with my now-infamous dramatic entrance: Arriving at the backstage door during the intermission of a UFOC opera production when all of my musician friends are outside dressed in pit black. Everyone is so happy to see me roll up and my heart swells up in my chest as I see many of my closest friends from across the country all gathered together for this amazing festival of music. Iím so proud of my new bike and of the crazy events of the last few days from the BMW breaking down to buying my dream bike for a fly-ín-buy, camping, partying, riding... Iím looking forward to a good nights sleep and some R&R for a while in here in the north-east corner of Utah.

MUCH more to come!
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:22 PM   #78
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Oh, so here's a couple pics of me taken by DaddyBigDaddy in NV. I was loaded up!




Not sure what this hand gesture is...

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Old 11-11-2008, 10:17 PM   #79
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One of the great things about being a classical musician is the opportunity to perform in a variety of venues all over the country, or even the world. Most symphonies seasons coincide with the school year so many have a summer sabbatical. During this ďtime offĒ most musicians perform in various summer music festivals that are most often in beautiful, cool mountain locales. Lucky us! Some of the most famous summer festivals are Tanglewood, Aspen, and Santa Fe Opera just to name a few. Chances are if itís a pretty place to visit in the summer thereís probably a live classical music festival happening somewhere near by. This sounds like it could work with motorcycle trips nicely, eh?

The downside is the compensation. Many musicians feel that they are getting a subsidized vacation by ďgettingĒ to play with a summer festival, which I agree with to an extent, but having to show up to work isnít a vacation to me (as much as I like my job). I decided a while ago that if I only stand to break even (or lose) on a summer festival I might as well be on moto-vacation for real, unless itís a rare opportunity to work with some amazing musicians (ďNetworkingĒ I think people call it in the real world).
Such is the case for the Utah Festival Opera: I played as principal viola there for four summers but it started to not make sense to work my ass off for nine weeks when I could make the same amount of money in three weeks in Texas and still get to ride to Utah and enjoy all the fun things at my leisure. No brainer!

Logan Utah is the home of Utah State University, so the Opera Company kinda takes over the town during the summer while all the students are back on the farm. Most of the orchestra stays in a block of student apartments which is outrageous fun. I donít think many of us would want to live like that long term, but for a couple months in the summer itís a freakiní blast! Like being in college again, but everyone is more respectful of each other (we are adults... sorta!). Get-togethers every night after the shows, drinks, meals, conversation, and general hanging out with like-minded colleagues in a relaxed, scenic environment. Excellent.

So I get to have some fun while all the other poor sods are slaving away in the pit! First thing is to sleep, a lot. Iím exhausted after playing my own music festival (Cactus Pear), and then the stress and excitement of first breaking down on the BMW and then getting the KTM and riding it here over a couple of crazy days. I sleep in for several days.

The day after I arrive the many of the musicians are playing a chamber music concert benefiting a local animal shelter. I volunteer to be the court photographer.





I like the violist's bow in this photo:



The ďofficialĒ dog of the Utah Festival Opera is Birch, who was adopted by a musician during a summer here. Heís the inspiration for the benefit concert, and heís one of my best hiking buddies while Iím here! It works out great Ďcause he and I can take off while everyone else is in rehearsal or performances.

I like Birch. I like big dogs in general! He seems pretty happy, and so do I!



I spend two afternoons working on a paint-protector project for my orange beast. It's probably the nicest vehicle I'll own for a long time, so I figure I'll at least make an effort to keep it looking nice. This orange/green-fleck paint job looks cool in the sun! Here are my patterns I made for the paint-saver film (flipped 'em over for the other side):





Installing:



This stuff is really cool, you really can't see it unless you're looking for it. I think I mentioned it before, but I despise cleaning/detailing, so I'd rather spend some time putting this stuff on so I don't have to worry about the paint for years.

There's more fun to be had here in (and near) Logan, including cutting my teeth on some off-pavement riding with my new beast and other exciting adventures, all in the next couple posts...
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:55 PM   #80
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This stuff is really cool, you really can't see it unless you're looking for it. I think I mentioned it before, but I despise cleaning/detailing, so I'd rather spend some time putting this stuff on so I don't have to worry about the paint for years.


I think it is time for some back country rides!!!!! I did wash mine after last summers ride... for 5 min with a power washer during a rain storm.

You might be getting a little grief for having a clean KTM at your adv rally den00bing.
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:38 PM   #81
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I think it is time for some back country rides!!!!! I did wash mine after last summers ride... for 5 min with a power washer during a rain storm.

You might be getting a little grief for having a clean KTM at your adv rally den00bing.
yeah, that's what I'm talking about! I bought the bike in July, it's now November and I've only washed it (with soap) once, and that was to prep it for the paint saver! It stayed surprisingly clean over my whole summer adventure, the pics make it look like I'm a total n00b (which is probably true...).
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:43 PM   #82
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I now possess one of the baddest all-around motorcycles ever forged by man, capable of feats Iíve yet to dream of let alone understand. I guess I should learn to use it! Everyone else is working, sooooooo...

If things wouldíve gone according to plan I would have upgraded my motorcycle later this year and hopefully enrolled in a dual-sporting clinic like Neduroís or Jimmy Stewartís to help get me acclimated (since I didnít grow up riding a dirt bike, or any motorcycle for that matter! I was an adult beginner). Well, I guess ďthe planĒ was not to be, and here I am in Utah with a KTM 990 Adventure. Gaw-Lee!

The KTM decides to take me into Hyrum Canyon, the Blacksmith Fork area near Logan. Here we go...

It starts out easy enough.




Iíve never done ďoff-roading,Ē but Iíve been down plenty of gravel roads, and lately Iíve been taking my street bike places it probably isnít appropriate. I got Neduroís DSR DVD and have been devouring literature about ďadventure styleĒ riding, so academically I understand whatís supposed to happen under my two wheels, but Iíve yet to experience these things myself. Scary fun!

Hmmm, getting more interesting:



Damn, Iím slow, I wish I had one gear lower. I suppose that 16 tooth front sprocket I hear so much about is in my future.

This hill had cool looking red dirt which reminds me of Oklahoma (the dirt, not the hill ).



There were some Jeeps rolling around here and there, but I was pretty much by myself. Being new to this type of thing I brought a few items I hope I donít need: Tie-down straps, tire irons, tire kit, first aid kit, snacks, water, and my new snazzy red gas jug (which I seriously doubt Iíll need, but like I said, Iím a beginner). The soft luggage is a real PITA to remove, so I pile everything inside and figure that theyíll help pad a tip-over if it comes to that. I very much want to avoid crashing alone, so Iím being uber cautious.

Iím also operating without a map. I couldnít find one online anywhere and daylight was burning, so off I go armed only with my sense of direction and memory. Hoo-boy... Sometimes there are ďtrail headĒ kiosks that have a large map printed on them, in which case I usually snap a few pictures to refer to if necessary, but no such luck this time. I do photograph any signs I come across, just in case I get turned around. Might help...





Iím not in tune with how time and distance passes riding like this. Usually when Iím hiking I can kinda gauge how far Iíve come and how long it will take to get back, and the same goes for when Iím sport-touring. My viola practice is similar too in that I can pace my session with my internal clock to achieve my daily goals. I donít have any idea how to do this riding off pavement! A learning experience for sure... Iím concentrating and working so hard I have a hard time keeping track of how long Iíve been out and how far Iíve come. The bike clock is still on Pacific time (and itís that annoying military time too) so thatís no help, Ďcause I suck at math, especially whilst operating heavy machinery. Iíd like to see this Mount Logan/Logan Peak, but I get the willies and turn around at this sign, having gained quite a bit of elevation. Iíd really like to come back with a proper map, and maybe a friend!

How come down is scarier than up? I think for going up I know that I can stop anytime I want, the brakes and gravity combined will end the panic quickly, whereas descents are trickier (at least to me). Braking wonít necessarily stop me! I need to work on this.

I make it down back to the gravel ďintersectionĒ and take a break. A few Jeep Rubicons roll past and I feel kinda bad-ass knowing Iím hanging with specialized off-road equipment. Yes, I know this is pretty damn tame riding, but Iím breaking new personal ground here! Itís exciting! Share in my joy...



I turn right and head to Left Hand Fork, which is even represented on my AAA map as an ďunpavedĒ road. This should be fun!

And it is:



Whoooo! Itís beautiful, and no traffic, no cops, no speed limit (like itíd even matter, Iím S-L-O-W...). I can see why guys get addicted to this, and Iím almost there. The air feels and smells good. Iím hot, but not too uncomfortable with all my vents open, although I wish I was comfortable going a little faster for some extra air flow. With my new bike I can finally stand up and ride like everyone suggests, even though I think bar risers for my 6í3Ē bad self are on the short list too.

Did I mention the suspension on this thing? There are a couple sections where I have to turn around to ride again just because it feels good to compress the forks. Iíve got about double the suspension travel Iíve ever had on a bike before, so I keep having to pinch myself to see if I dreamt that last whoop, hole, or rock that crossed beneath me. Oh man, Iím in love...



I know how to get ďoutĒ to Hyrum Canyon, but now Iím feeling confident and have plenty of gas and daylight left, so up another trail I go, and this one has ominous signs:



Iím huffing and puffing, sweating and grunting as I scrape my way onward. All the tutorials Iíve been reading and watching say to stay loose, relaxed and poised on the handlebars, but itís hard to implement as I donít know what to expect from me or my machine. Iím also starting to see why off-roaders wear the things they do: goggles (as my face gets scratched from another tree branch, again), jerseyís (hot in my jacket), MX gloves (thereís not a lot of room for my armored knuckles under the clutch lever), and boots (for obvious reasons, Iím trying to be really careful in my combat-style boots). A whole other world of motorcycling! Iím so into this. I guess I have to buy more gear, darn. Guess what color!!!



Itís getting pretty rocky, but I press on. Iím appreciating the brush guards and wind screen which are moving the branches out of the way for me.



Satisfied that Iíve gone farther than is recommended for passenger cars (whoo-hoo!) I turn around and take a little Clif-bar break next to the stream. These whacky tires are still a mystery to me... So much to learn...



Damn, somebody laid down brand new pavement for me, looks like this very morning! Iíve never seen such a black road and such vivid painted lines. It might be partly my perspective after coming off jeep trails...






I head on up to Hardware Ranch just because, and low and behold, a OHV trail system parking area! Awesome! Iím out of time for today (and energy), but I take pics of the maps for later (hopefully!).






Okay, thatís enough for today, Iím tired, hungry and excited about my first real dirt test with my ridiculous orange monster. I'd guess about fifty miles off pavement and another fifty or so back on road. Success! And no ďnapsĒ either. I must be doing something right...

The night is for fragging my friends with plasma rifles and rocket launchers... and with style!



Show me yer WAR FACE!!!

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Old 11-13-2008, 01:00 AM   #83
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From one music aficionado (drum & bugle corps) to another, you're only allowed to play halo on an xbox!

Great report! I love the report, but it's really terrible to have to stay up so late every day to read it. The poor folks in eastern time are having a hard time keeping this up!
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Old 11-16-2008, 10:32 AM   #84
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Thereís many fun things for me to do here in Logan, and I must say itís pretty nice not to have a schedule!

Going to the movies with my girls:



Bonfires:






Also taking little day rides in the area (with a lovely passenger!):




Utah has these great little hamburger/dairy stops in just about every small town. The food and ice-cream is comically cheap, so we make bacon cheeseburgers a regular habit with big-ass ice-cream cones for dessert. The coneís prices are in cents! You just donít see that everywhere... Note the ďFry Sauce.Ē Itís some sort of vinegar/tomato dipping sauce that is kind of a Utah thing. Tasty!




Sometimes I infiltrate the orchestra pit to harass and annoy the worker bees. Pit playing is an interesting beast. Often a production has a long run, so the musicians get very familiar with their parts after a while. As the familiarity goes up so do the pit pranks and jokes. Since the audience canít usually see the pit musicians sometimes the shennanigans and inside jokes get pretty whacky. Iím an outsider this year, but itís still fun to stir things up during intermission...



Itís not ALL playtime for me, I do need to keep my practicing up for my upcoming auditions. I find that itís hard to squeeze in a significant amount of practice time with all these fun activities available to me!

Still life: My days in Logan. The beauty of nature, beer, and music! (and a plate...)



You never know whatís going to happen in the music business, so itís good to stay active and maintain professional and social contacts (which is probably true for most any profession!). I may want to play in the Utah Festival Opera Company again someday, and I also want to have some musical contact with my friends, so the music director letís me sit in for one of the concert performances on stage. I wasnít about to haul my tux and shoes with me across country along with all my other gear, so I set up an appointment with the company costume shop. This opera company is a big deal in this part of the country and in the summer they truck in sets and costumes from all over the place, including renting stuff from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Professional wardrobe personnel, wig makers (these galsí work seems to never end!) set builders/painters, and production and lighting designers are all here living in Logan for the summer, the works.

The costume and fitting shop:



I joke with the costume crew as they run down the basement and find me a full tux (jacket, pants, shirt, bow tie AND shoes) in a matter of minutes. For some reason thereís an oven in the shop and some chocolate chip cookies come out just as Iím leaving. Score! This is pretty cool.

We stop for a quick photo on the way to the concert hall:



When I take pictures on my trips they're usually of the things that are fascinating and beautiful to me (like motorcycles! ), usually things that are out of the ordinary. When showing the photos of my adventures to others people often ask where the pictures of the music and musicians are. Oh yeah, I forgot about that! Concert settings are a difficult place to take pictures with the low, indoor lighting (and using the flash on stage is verboten!), and when Iím working my mind and hands are busy, and so is everybody elseís, so photos of the musical action are usually sparse, but Iím trying to get better! I suppose pics like these would be interesting to others!





Backstage some of the other pros want to try the Black Death. Most reactions upon seeing the viola are suspicious ďDoes it actually sound good?!?Ē Then after the individual tries it for a few minutes they often say, ďWow, it really sounds like a viola,Ē and ďHuh, I kinda want one!Ē





The concert is no big deal, a little fun menagerie of arias and show pieces, kind of a ďpopsĒ type program, but itís fun to be on stage with all my buds again and to show off my new avant garde instrument.
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Old 11-16-2008, 04:06 PM   #85
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Loving it!
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:28 AM   #86
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Loving it!
+1 Keep it coming
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:57 AM   #87
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As Iíve mentioned several times I like hiking. I LOVE hiking. The higher the better! Walking is okay, but actually hiking out in the trees, mountains and sunshine brings great happiness to me, especially if I can get there via motorcycle. I call the combination of these two passions ďMotorhikeling.Ē Clever, eh?

Iíve been having so much fun goofing off I havenít hiked a lot so far this trip, but I do manage to round up a few folks to hoof it over to Crimson Trail, which is only a few minutes up Logan canyon from the orchestra housing. Iíve hiked this trail many times over the years and I love and hate it every time. Itís steep up, then flat on the top along beautiful cliffs, then steep down, I think around three to four miles round trip. Itís a serious workout if you push it (which I do!). Damn, it feels good to be out again... Thereís so many great little (and big) hikes around here, but this one is still my favorite because of the great view as a reward, the incredible exercise, and the close proximity to town.

The reward after the climb:



On the way down (I dig those orange pants!):



Iíve seen a few rattlesnakes from time to time on previous hikes, but this was the closest call so far. If he wouldíve decided to strike Iím sure heíd have hit me! Luckily he rattled and started moving away instead. I damn near stepped on him.



After the hike we feel weíve earned some Aggie Ice Cream, made by the dairy school at Utah State. If youíre passing through stop in and get some, itís extremely creamy! The raspberries on top are locally grown from the ďfruit highwayĒ near Ogden, famous for itís delicious fruits, canned by an enthusiastic opera musician. Mmmmmmm...



The line for Aggie Ice Cream is often out the door, but itís worth the wait.



Boy I sure am tired, but the boys canít seem to get enough of my Halo ass-whuppiní, so I guess duty calls until the wee hours once again.
We finally let Eric win a game. OMG, one of the funniest moments I can remember ever, the pic doesnít relay the hilarity of the situation. I think I threw out a rib. Itís amazing how intense ďvirtualĒ experiences like this can be! The competition is very real indeed... Post Game Carnage, and how!



Tired now, bed time at last. Tomorrow is another big riding adventure post, with a twist!
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Old 11-17-2008, 09:26 PM   #88
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Loving it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peka
+1 Keep it coming
Thanks guys, it's good to know someone out there is reading my report! More soon...
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:09 AM   #89
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:16 AM   #90
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Heheh! I am enjoying all this violation. I watched How it's made on Discovery channel and they were showing how these carbon fiber violas are made.
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