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Old 05-10-2013, 08:00 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coloradical View Post
Find a Throttle Rocker or Cramp Buster. Might not be perfect but either should give you some relief and both are cheap options.

Yeah, I did intend to have BMW 441 put one of these on, but they forgot. My wrist has been doing better, so I wonder if I just ragged the tendon out weight lifting at the W. I do not think that is all of it, but I am just going to play it by ear. I am nearing the 4000 mile mark here in New Orleans. I have over a month to ride. I may still stop to get one of these installed....
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:12 PM   #32
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My Birthday

My Birthday.

No, it is not my birthday. * The title of this one comes from remembering our wanders Jackson square in New Orleans last night after eating at Sylvain restaurant. *There was this little African American girl, maybe five years old wandering down the street in her finery with what I assume was her mother and she was saying over and over in her outside voice, "My birthday! * My birthday! * My birthday." * It was hilarious.

Sylvain was great, * ....just *some place Lori picked out randomly. * The windows for the places faced the street, but to get in you had to wander through a hall to an open court yard. * There were tables there and the kitchen was separated from the bar and main eating area,which wes dark and grungy with *bright yellow evening light providing some illumination from the front windows. * We had, of course, looked up the ratings on trip advisor. * The crispy duck confit was brilliant, and they served some sort of pig belly appetizer that would bring me back again if I lived in the city.

Afterward we wandered around the neighborhoods near there and the square and took in the entertainment. * Some people trying to live music were truly awful, but some were very good. * We stepped into a gay bar to grab some drinks to go, which is one of the very civilized aspects of New Orleans. * I am sure some day some group *of bored busy bodies will form "Mothers Against Drunk Wandering" and spoil the fun, but you can still do it. * I got a double whisky. * ...asked for it neat, but they gave it to me on the rocks. * Gay people anyway.... * *I decided not to complain and we went and wandered down Burboun Street. * Bourboun street is one of those hyper-awful tourist holes *that must be an absolute horror show during Mardi Gras. * I told Lori Denver should invent some sort of pot festival and name in Mardi Grass. * Assuming it, happens, I believe posting this will grant me the copy right. * People were petting the horses of two mounted officers, and I dared Lori to pet the cop. * She declined.

We went back to the hotel and went to the hot tub where we had a few moments alone before some guy and his concubine came up and joined us. * *He was some sort of a seamless welder working on some Nasa boost stage. * She was his trophy meat I guess. * Nice couple. *We bailed and she was all over him before we even got out of the vicinity.

We rose at six and got on the road to Houston.

The day was rather cool for riding but at least it was dry. *I rode along with Lucinda William's "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" album in my head.

At various places just after New Orleans and near Baton Rouge we rode really long distances on elevated highways over water for miles and miles. * I guess with the lake and rivers and the delta and swamps in the area, they have no choice but to just put a bridge over the whole thing to avoid having to go way north to avoid it. * Near Baton Rouge this extended for probably 30 miles or so, and near N.O. you have to get over Lake Ponchartrain that way. *It is kind of odd to see all sorts of trees growing right out of the water. * Of course Mangroves do it, but I am unaccustomed to seeing it anywhere else. * I like the look. * There were white herons everywhere.

The ride was generally uneventful and we got to Houston pretty early. * We have reservations at some BYOB place wherre we will have them cork the bottle of Copolla Pino I bought in Ft. Lauderdale and which we have not yet found the time to drink.

Lori's ride is just about done. * We drop her bike off at a warehouse for shipping tomorrow. * She will take a cab to the airport and I will be off in the direction of wherever. * I kind of want to ride through Death Valley in California, so I am going to start bearing generally north and west I guess, on my own again.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:07 AM   #33
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Homeward bound for me

I'm writing this from the United Club at the Houston airport. The motorcycle drop-off at a relocation shipper's warehouse went without a hitch, thanks to Selwyn at AA Motorcycle Transport. Doug rode with me to the warehouse, then left to continue his journey. He planned to take U.S. 290 to Austin, then northwest.

It was hard to watch Doug go, since it is likely to be awhile before we see each other again. But we had an excellent trip, and there are more adventures ahead of him.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:52 PM   #34
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Out of Gas.

Out of Gas.

As I sit here in Pecos Texas, irritated that I cannot have a marguerita, because the restaurant attached to probably the only available room in Pecos, I await wings and wonder idly whether a group called "Narcissists Anonymous" could ever work out. * I should not bitch. * I snatched this last room in this hotel from the slavering jaws (ok not a great metaphor) of some woman who called shortly after I wheezed, "I will take it." *But I get a bit ahead of myself.

I woke up in Houston after another lovely night out on the town with my spectaulicious wife, Lori. * She had booked us into a restaurant that was closed. * She got the wrong night, and they were not open on Sunday. *That is a tad sad really as it was a BYOB(ottle) place and we had a bottle of Coppola Pinot that I had purchased in Ft. Lauderdale and we had hauled from there. * We had walked half a mile to this place but called a cab and went into Houston proper to a wine bar and had a lovely meal. *We went back to the hotel where we engaged in a passionate round of ipad viewing. * I watched Game of Thrones and she watched some Englishy thingy with a super-odd title. * No, it was not Doctor Whom.

We got up at about seven and rode over to the warehouse where we were dropping off her bike for shipping back to Denver. * She called a cab and I headed out. * I did really hate to part. * We had a great week on the road together, but I wanted to plant some miles today and it takes time.

I decided to head in the general direction of Toyah and only skirt Austin. * I wanted to avoid the downtown traffic in Austin, which can be really bad. *My ultimate goal is to ride near Carlsbad New Mexico before aiming west to intersect Death Valley and to mark New Mexico and Utah off my list. * I have already been in both states on the bike, but I seem to be making some pointless point by trying to hit all the states.

...oh and by the way, I still don't know if I will make it. * It is pretty brutal to do 500 miles in one day much less day after day, and I have been going a bit slower with Lori, although I have to admit we had some long days on the road.

The ride out of Houston was green and rich. * It seems Texas is having the war that goes on in all the western states where fecund greenlands are scattered in a varying textural template with the desert death traps that also characterize much of the west. * Texas' war is very interesting. * For a very long way out of Houston it still seemed like rich agricultural land with tons of trees everywhere. * As I rode west on 290 the trees seemed to get smaller and smaller, and I expected them to surrender to the semi-arid wastes I am used to all over the west, but they would spring back to full size and everything would be rich and green. * The trees in Lyndon Johnson's home town were green with a radioactive intensity, but that was after Austin in Johnson city. **

I miscalculated the missing of Austin and ended up riding right through the middle of the city, and traffic there can *be horrible. * It was crowded but not too bad and I got through it, not so bad. * I rode through Johnson city and then Fredricksburg, which must be cop central as it was filthy with state patrol cars.

Somewhere around here Texas began its final surrender to the desert, but it did so in gorgeous fashion. * There was this long long section where the trees were small but still there. * They looked so much like Oak trees, but they probably were not. *But in this sections wild flowers and large cactus began to appear. * I know that when people think of desert they think of cactus, but in my experience cactus are kind of rare in the semi-arid grass lands that are all over the place in the west, so seeing noticable cactus was a treat. *I don't think any of them were over about 18 inches tall, but if you can notiice them doing 80 mph on a two-lane road, they are big enough. * At this point I was doing what I usually do on two lane roads, slowing to the speed limit when approaching hills over which I could not see and then blasting up to about 90 mph when over them. * There was a bit of wind and the fuel was dissipating.

I got to highway 10 and saw the sign that announced a speed limit of 80 MPH. * I am an atheist, but I thought, "God Bless Texas" anyhow. * An 80 mph limit would let me do 90 with some degree of confidence that the local cash collection toadies would fail to notice me. *I saw that the town of Sonora would put me at about 180 miles on the tank and the F800 had been getting over 50 mph on recent stints, so I figured I was shiny. * But no. *With 28 miles to Sonora, the gas light comes on and tells me I have 23 miles of range left. * Fuck! * The standard deviation on the mileage of this bike is pissing me right the fuck off, but whatever. * I have been going 90 mph with a lot of hard acceleration and slowing to try to avoid tickets. * *I began to get very depressed about having to wait on the side for the freeway while I wait for someone to bring me gas. * It isn't as if this is a dangerous problem. * I have a satellite phone with me if all else fails, and I had passed a group of bikers at 90 mph a ways down the road. * I *would have been fine, but I would certainly have been delayed.

But I also realized that whatever math the bike was doing it was likely conservative, since BMW would not want a lot of people suing it, because they were delayed getting lattes when the bike assured them they had 10 miles left in the tank. *So I was worried but still had hope that no did not mean no in this casee. * The bike did eventually say no. * Zero gas. * End of the road. * But I rode about 8 miles beyond that to get gas in Sonora. * That is the first time I ever tested it. * I wonder what the limit is, but when I filled up, I did put in 4.33 gallons, which is more than I thought the bike even held.

I really was hauling ass on interstate 10, but left it to head to Pecos. * The day had been mild all along with temperatures mostly in the low 80's, but it did heat up to almost 90 as I headed into Pecos. * I figured I was in good shape. *I was stopping at about 6:00 pm having done about 560 miles. *But when I actually got to Pecos, hot and very tired, *the first three places I tried were all booked up. * I finally tried the Quality Inn, and they had a room, but it was a double bed and about 40 dollars more than I wanted to pay. *I said I would take it. * And barely in time. * Really I could have gone on, but I have no idea what is going on to the north, and apparently the reason things are all booked here is there is a lot of oil field work here. *I had been warned of this, but I expected to see it only in North Dakota. * All hail God Oil. * More power to them, but I wanted to stop. * So I overpaid for the room and headed for dinner to the attached night club that does not serve Marguerits.

I am tired. *My body hurts. * This is hard. * My wrists seem to be more or less ok, and that is where I really worry about numbness and progressive damage. * The real pain in my hands is in my thumb joints on both hands, and that gets bad some times, but I do not know if it will get bad enough to stop me.

Today for the first time I listened to a whole bunch of Adam Carolla podcasts on the road and depleted the ipad battery enough that I had to use the external battery pack to write this....
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:09 PM   #35
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Plague

Plague:

My initial intent was to ride 600 miles today. * I woke early and left with the sun, but I also left with a virus. *I came out of sleep with sore throat. * Sometimes these things go away very quickly but not this time. *I felt fairly bad when I got up and the head cold got worse as the day got on. * But I had at least 500 miles to get through, so again, I just started acting as if I were going to do it, and pretty soon I was.

It was pretty cold this morning. *It started out at about 58, and it took hours for it to warm into the low 60s. * It was not bad enough to make me break out the electric jacket, but it was irritating. *58 does not sound cold, but it can be uncomfortable when you are going hour after hour.

The oil business in Texas must be booming just as it is in Colorado and North Dakota. *I keep seeing stories about the US becoming an energy power house in the coming years, and I believe it. * The number of wells in North Texas was amazing.

I was going to ride through some of the national forests in New Mexico, but as usual in the hypnosis of the highway and the haze of sickness I forgot and just rode north through Roswell until I hit the east/west connection to Albequerque. *The parts on New Mexico around Roswell are flat and blasted, barren and pretty uninteresting, except for big storm cloud cells on the far horizon. *But the freeway was long and largely abandoned and I was able to add another state to the list in which I have scoffed at speeding law.

Some where early in the day I saw a sign for a septic tank company, and my brain read "Skeptic Tank." I thought what a great name that would be for a salon of free-thinkers who gather to drink and discuss mass delusions, and other things.

Eventually the landscape heading northg did start to become at least a bit interesting. *It was still generally blasted grass land, but it started to be full of these plants that looked like Yucca plants on small stalks. * Some of them seemed to have mildly reddish flower fronds extending from them.

The western ride into Albequerque was pretty as the hills turned into small mountains, and the storm clouds began to mass. * I thought it looked like a generally pretty place to live. **

After Albequerque the wind began to pick up and it began to spit rain as I rode through terrain that seemed to *be covered with lava flows. *It did rain but not a lot. *It did start to get cold again though. * At one point it had been in the low 80s, but it briefly dropped to 60. *I realized that going 600 miles made no sense, since I would probably stop in the Vegas area so I *could get through Death Valley relatively early in the day. * So I took a poll and decided to stop in Gallup. *Heh.

I pulled up to this ratty looking hotel called "the captain" something. *I asked for the room rate for a single. *The Indian guy said it was 38 dollars. * 38 dollars? * What do I have to share the room with lepers or something. * I mean, this place is run down and everything, but jeez. *I decided to take it. *The room is fine.

I had crossed a time zone so it was only 3. *I felt like shit, so I took a nap and hoped the buzzing would recede from my mind. * Then the usual. *Dinner and writing.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:45 PM   #36
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Crater

I have been at this for two weeks and a day and am nearing the 6000 mile mark. *The days are starting to run together and I can barely remember what was unique from day today. *Without writing it downI would forget much of it. *Even doing so, many details will flee. *I have not been saying much about the restaurants or the hotels, but they are a pretty essential part of the experience for me so perhaps I should.

Last night in Gallup I went to a mexican place and had tamales and rellenos while some godawful CSI Whateverville competed with the latest NBA thugfest. *I never cared about the CSI shows, but 15 *years ago I would have been all over the playoffs. *Not so much any more. * But it is still kind of interesting having them as a backdrop.

I woke up after a fairly good night sleep still feeling like shit, but the riding had to be done and while sick it is not a serious burden to do the riding. * As usual, my plan for the day was sketchy to the extreme. * I knew I wanted to be in the Vegas area, but had not decided whether to stay there or go on to some place like Beatty.

I listned to some Adam Carolla and stopped briefly to consider visiting The Painted Desert. *But, meh, it really did not appeal. * Had I never been to the Grand Canyon or Monument Valley, I may have headed there, but I have seen them and was not interested in repeating it without Lori.

The wind started to pick up and got fairly bad. * I saw a sign for that big-ass meteor crater that is in Arizona. * I had not realized I would pass it. * ...gotta stop to see something like that. *Rode up there and *parked my bike in a place where once I got off it was clear the wind was going to blow it over. *It was that hard. *I had to move it to part it facing into the wind so it would not blow over. *I talked to a cool guy on a KTM 950 who was headed over land to some big event near a place called Mormon Lake? * I really don't remember, but he was geared up. * I admired his skill. * I don't have it. * Dude told me he use to have one of the BMW 1200 GS, but had a bad off and broke his collar bone. * He said he was able to drive the bike to the hospital, but that the insurance totaled it. * Heh. * That is a high threshold of pain.

Here is a picture of the crater and of an apollo practice capsule they had there:

[/URL]

[/URL]

I rode on after this for quite a ways heading to Flagstaff. *Eventually I entered Coconino national forest. *I saw the sign and immediately thought, "You know, traditionally a forest sees fit to have a few trees. * All I see here is good sized shrubs." * But about 20 miles later I realized I had the snark meter set too high as the trees did start to appear. * The I hit the sign announcing the city limits of Flagstaff and wanted to think, "You know, traditionally cities include a few buildings", but I held off for a bit, and sure enough, they started to show up. * I decided to pull off and try to find a Starbucks to get some coffee and call the wife. *I know it is a stereotype that people buy BMWs just to ride them to Starbucks,but if I cannot stop at Starbucks once after riding nearly 6000 miles then to hell with it. *I typically don't stop for much but fuel. *Hell, my days have been consisting of fewer than 500 calories until dinner when Lori is not with me. *Am I too defensive about Starbucks.

I had a Latte and a brief chat with the wife and headed on. *The wind continued to be very bad. * I passed an extensive field of large pilesof boulders that reminded me a bit of the Vedauwoo area in Wyoming. * The piles here were much smaller than those in Vedauwoo, but much more extensive. It is a very cool looking landscape. * Jesus I feel like shit typing this, but if I don't finish it I never will.

Riding on into the Hoover Dam area the temperature started to *rise drastically. *It climbed up to a bit over 100 degrees. *I went up and took a picture of the damn but did not linger. * I have seen it before and did not want to push myself too far in the heat. *They have added a lame-assed security check since I was last there, but it seemed pretty lame consisting of a couple old bureaucrats gazing at people's faces before waving them on.

Here is the shot I took before leaving:

[/URL]

I headed into Vegas and the temperature continued to be extremely high. *Then I did *the intelligence failure of the day. *I was on I95 north. *I still had not decided where to stop, so I got off to get gas and hydrate. *There was a best western right near there, but it was a LONG way from downtown. *I figured if I could get a place near the core that was within reasonable taxi ride,I would preserve the possibility of going into town, even though that is ridiculous, because I am not feeling well. *But I noticed that 215 went around the city and then went in the direction of Death Valley, so I figured, "what the hell". *I would go around on an interstate and if I saw a hotel near the downtown I would stop. *What I did not realize was that the path the Ipad put me on to get back to I95 where I already was went through ten miles of surface street. *Stop and go in 100 degrees. * Sick. * After already riding 500 miles. * Idiot.

I decided to head north and stop in the hotels near Indian Spring of which there are none as they are 50 miles farther nortth in Beatty.

The mountains that parallel I95 going out of Vegas were beautiful in the afternoon light. *They started getting that pale yellow mist following the ridge lines down to merge with the fading greed of the sage. * In the midground was alkaline (or at least very white) soil, and there were cactus and Joshua trees in the foreground. * I passed a prison and an airforce base. * It was really quite nice.

I passed through the Paiute Indian reserve outside Vegas, and one look made me realize how badly they had been rooked. *They reserved THIS for you? * Maybe there was an Oasis somewhere I was missing, *but how anyone could survive on what I saw is a complete mystery.

I got to Indian Springs and realized it was nothing. *Yes there was one little hotel there, and I could have stayed, but I was not thrilled, so I stopped and called Lori and asked her to book me a room in Hotels near Armagosa Valley. * She did, and booked me into the Atomic Hotel, but it is in Beatty which is about 30 miles north of Armagosa Valley. * Which is all fine, but it was yet another 30 miles. * At some point the temperature dropped to about 90, and I began to worry about hypothermia. *Heh.

Armagosa Valley is a paragon of stark beauty in the late afternoon sunset. *The road breaks out into a cirlce of ranges in the distance but there are small mountains individually jutting out of the desert in the mid range and foregroud, solitariy, independent of any range. * The pale yellow and blue atmospheric perspective were making things look mysterious and far away. *It is very difficult to describe how beautiful something so bleak and blasted, so obviously hell in the high summer, could be.

I eventually got to Beatty and after standing around for 20 minutes while the hotel person tried to figure out why my name was in her system but I had no reservation I got a key to the room. * It took me another 15 minutes to figure out how to make the damned key work in the door, and I stumbled off to a local saloon and had the worst fish and chips ever while really drunk people sang and raged about the songs from the 70s and 80s they were playing. * They even made me look up when the song Brick House came out on my ipad.

I am very tired and still ill. * I am considering starting late tomorrow and having a real breakfast. * But b y the end of the day I should be on highway 1 in California and a day or two from the half way point of the trip.

Here is a shot of the hotel:

[/URL]
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:39 PM   #37
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Ok Don't Sell Me Gas

Ok, Don't Sell me Gas.

I woke up at around the usual time in the Atomic Inn at Beatty. * They have a really awesome picture of a nuclear test in the office. * I guess Trinity must have been around here somewhere. *I step out all disheveled and shit to load the bike and immediately this little rat dog starts barking at me, * It is like 6:30 AM, and this little mongrel is accompanying some kid who is using the steep incline of the parking spot in front of the hotel to do his bycicle tricks. * He was pretty good, and to his citizenship credit he quickly realized that barking rat dog in front of the hotel was probably not a good thing, so he escorted it back to whichever of the awful trailer houses around that he lived in. * But then he returned to do his trick, apparently oblivious *that to those sleeping, and more imortantly to me, the sound of bike smashing into asphalt when he screwed up was almost as irritating. *I was getting pretty irritated at the little scrub, but I have to admire his motivation.

I went to get gas. * I did not really need it at that point, but not knowing the fuel situation in Death Valley, I figured what the hell. * I put my card in the maching, and through a screen so heavily scratched I could barely read it, it asked me if the card was credit or debit. * I could see no obvious way to select, so I thought, "screw this" and just left.

It was again in the low 60's but as I rode the long, lovely, utterly abandoned road into Death Valley, it started to warm rapidly. *In the heart of the valley itself it ended up getting up to about 90, and that was with a bit of overcast. * I was glad I would not be subject to the likely 110 degrees at 2 PM. * The terrain as I road in was quite rocky. * In many places it looked like glacial morraine, but I have no idea if that makes sense. * *There were a lot of low plants, and in the valley itself I expected it to be completely barren. *It was really not.

Cresting the final rise I saw the lovely valley itself. *I kept thinking, "Yea though I ride through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, exept deer, and cross traffic that pulls out without looking, and tire blowouts. * The usual shit." *Of course there are likely no deer in Death Valley, but you never know. * The vermin seem to find a way to be everywhere.

I stopped and used the automatic payment kiosk. *I paid my ten dollars to enter even though there seemed to be no way to enforce it. *I am such a responsible person.

The terrain was much like the valley around Armagosa and Beatty, *a ring of high mountains surrounding a huge depression that actually goes below sea level. *There were other mountains independent of the range scattered within the ring. * They all looked fairly rugged even when not huge, and they were the entire range of grayed out earth tones. *Yellow, green, umber, ochre, some blue and all with that yellowish haze. * I thought it was quite nice to look at.

It was not at all devoid of plants. *A very few got somewhat large, but mostly it was grass and low shrubs. *One spot was filled with a large number of bushes that were green in the middle with slightly yellowish tops. *The name of this field was "The Devil's Cornfield." * I wondered why they thought the devil could not go someplace and plant real corn, but I guess they were being all poetical and stuff.

I stopped at a place in the valley that had fuel, so I figured I would fuel up here. * I got off the bike, unlocked the gas cap, but when I put my card in it would not go all the way in and the pump would not recognize the card. *Now there were more pumps, but I was irritated and figured I would just gas up at the next opportunity.

The climb out of Death Valley goes from -100 ft sea level to nearly 5000 ft in pretty short order, and the temperature dropped nearly 20 degrees. *Both in and out of the valley had some very nice twisty roads to ride that were nearly abandoned. * The ironic sign of the day was on the way out of the first part of the park. *It said, "To avoid overheating, turn off air conditioning for the next 20 miles." *Heh. * I imagined the conversation. *"Daddy, turn on the air conditioning." *"We're trying to avoid overheating, now shut up." "But Daddy, I AM overheating." *"Shut up and finish your ice cream before it evaporates." I suspect pretty much everyone just ignores it. * I did.

At the top I stopped at another fuel location. *They did not have credit card readers in the pump at all. *Goddamnit. * I started to leave and then realized I should check the ipad to see where the next opportunity was, and decided I really had to just do what it took to get fuel here. *Then I noticed it was over six dollars a gallon. * I filled up anyway, feeling like a bit of a douche.

Getting out of the park I went west until I hit *the road paralleling the mountains heading south. * Had I never been to Yosemete I would have headed north, but I have been there twice in the summer and once in the dead of winter when nobody was around and Lori and I stayed at the hotel there. * I did not want to deal with the congestion so I headed south to cross the mountains and get to Bakersfield. *I was aiming for Santa Maria on the coast at which point I would head north. * As usual I had no idea where I would stop.

I was still feeling generally shitty. *The sneezing and sniffling had turned into congestion and a cough. *This is all typical progression for a moderately bad head cold, so I expect I have at least two more days of it. * If there is not sore throat, headache, or nausea, I am not sure I care that much. * The head wierdness that happens is something that many people would do on purpose if the rest of the symptoms were not concurrant. * It is kind of like a mild buzz.

Once I got far enough south I hit the road that would take me over the mountains to Bkersfield. * This road was bliss. * Largely abandoned and twisty and fast and all the good stuff. *In the glades and fields to the side of the road I saw scores, nay legions of Joshua trees. * The were packed in like sardines, like large Joshua tree shaped sardines, except in fields instead of cans. * I know lots of people observe talk like a pirate day. * I am trying to observe Joss Wheedon joke structure day.

But it really was wonderful and it delivered me into Bakersfield post haste. *I came off of a twisty road with a river going over massive boulders 100 feet below into the golden grass of California with a brilliant green orchard of some sort in bright ordered rows along the road for mile after mile. * Of course in Bakersfield I got delayed by the inevitable 13 mile route through the middle of the wretched city. *Once *I got out of that and onto the two lane highways, I kept getting delayed by people driving farm equipment or carting it as wide loads on semis. *Incidentally, if you have a big-assed truck with a monster combine on it and a sign that says, "Oversize Load", why do you need a little truck just in front of it with a sign that says, "Oversize Load". * I get it ok?

Around Maricopa I saw the largest oil field I have ever seen, hundreds and hundreds of giant metal mosquitos sucking the blood out of the ground. *...kind of random and ugly. * It is hard to believe that the good socialist lunatics of California have *not regulated that shit out of existence.

Eventually I hit another road that went forever, mostly straight and then super twisty. * It went through the typical golden California hills with increasing forestation as we hit mountainous territory. * I passed a bunch of cars, including a Mustang and left them in 90 mph dust for awhile until much later the Mustang caught me as I was in the twisting roads. * I was getting tired. * The temperatures had plummetted. *I was cold and it was windy and I was increasingly worried about a mistake. * Eventually I waved him past and shortly we arrived in Sata Maria.

I stopped for gas, and at the place I stopped I was unable to figure out any way to get the rubber prophylactic that is designed to prevent you from using fuel to fit into my bike in such a way that it would * actually cause the pump to work. * Bad day for gas. * So I went to a place across the street and fueled up.

I rode on a bit on 101 until I stopped to put the electric jacket on as I was freezing. *Then I intersected the one and went on. *There were many lovely views of the pacific unit the hills intervened, but then a low and very bright bank of misty clouds began to show themselves over those intervenening hills. *The weather was rolling in. * Around Cambria I realized that I did not want *to ride as far as Carmel or Big Sur, so I had better check whether there were towns before that. * Eh, not so much. * Lori and I had visited Hearst Castle back when I was working for HP on a project with Intel, and I knew there was not a lot on the coastal road south of Carmel. * So I decided to stop in Cambria.

I sat briefly in front of a Hostel that got good ratings trying to *figure out if staying in a hostel would require me to hug people or engage in a drum circle. * I decided it *was not *worth the risk and headed to another place. *After more conversation that I really required with the woman at the desk I had a room. *I unloaded, showered, called the wife, and went off looking for food.

I wandered down the road to the Black Cat American Bistro. *They had no full-service bar and so I could not have a margarita. * I *should have walked out, but I stayed and had a glass of pinot and their duck confit with golden beets appetizer. *The pretty blonde person whose function I could not fully ascertain asked me if I liked my wireless keyboard. *I gave her some version of the rant about how it is the keyboardiest, and then she went back to ignoring me and talking to the pimply waiter boy about her date the other day and how she thinks it went well. * I silently wished her the best. * It is so hard to find even *brief happiness.

I *left and went back to Linn's restaurant, because I saw they had Chicken Cordon Bleu, and I wanted to try *it. *Meh, it was ok and only really marred by the idiot wind blowing in gale force from the women at the table next to me. *Still, they had no full-service bar. *What! *The! *Fuck!

I wandered over the saloon across the street figuring *with a name like saloon they had to serve actual drinks. *Bingo. *Kismet. * Touchdown. * Whatever. * Margariga and more or less *complete ride report.

Maybe I will include pictures in a subsequent post. * Maybe I won't. * Nobody cares but me.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:07 PM   #38
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:22 PM   #39
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Past, Present, Future.

Today seems one of the hardest days of the trip. *How can that be when I rode through a lightning storm in N'Orleans. *I guess it was the 11.5 hours in the seat. * It went a little bit like this:

I woke at six and packed the bike. * It was foggy in Cambria. * I am not a huge fan of riding in the fog, but I figured it would burn off soon, and it needed to be done. *Cambria is on a stream of small river or something, and I could hear the frogs going as I walked home from dinner last night. * Hence the fog I suppose. *Was I just in Death Valley.

I head out on highway one north, still feeling ill, but probably marginally better than yesterday althought the cough is worse. * I take no food when starting today. *I do eat nuts eventually, but I am pretty sure my calorie intake is only 400 calories until 8 PM. * How do I go on so little food? * I just do not get hungryy. * I remind myself that I should eat for energy.

As I thought, once on the road and out of the Cambria ravine, the fog buggers off. *It is cold and a bit windy, but clear now, and the electric jacket is almost too warm. *I am sure you have used your spatial expertise to work out that the ocean is on my *left, but you cannot deduce the pale blue of the water in the foreground. * It is quite unsaturated and looks almost white. * It darkens in the distance to a still unsaturated indigo. * It is all l subdued as if to soothe, "This will be an easy day dear rider." *But the surf is very *bold and the mountainous rock ubiquitouus in seascapes like this begs me to stop and photograph. * I *spurn them, as this will already be a long enough day I am positive.

On the right, the sun, already an hour into its daily ministry for this golden coast emblazons the mist and *low clouds over the hills so that it looks very, well, emblazony. *This mist clings to the gold-green hills, mediating between the soft earthtones and the sun which seems to want to incinerate them with its brightness. *Six hundred or so miles to the east, I am sure it is having more success. * Here the land forces the sun into and Evynd Earle compromise of intense and sensual livingness.

Incidentally, if you have not looked at Evynd Earle, you should. * I think most *of you would like it.

The gold hills that are all over in California looked much greener in this light. *It was everything I could have hoped for in a ride up the one on the coast. * I left so early I had the road entirely to myself. * I think there were only two other vehicles on the first 80 miles or so to Carmel, and those I had to let pass as I was moving too slow for them. *Two lanes forever and ever of perfect black top twisties and nobody around to bother me. *Ocean sights the whole way. * Bunnies running across the road, successfully fortunately. *Other than being cold it was as good as can be expected.

Around Carmel the traffic picked up necessitating some passing. * At some point I remember seeing a woman parked along the side of the road and trying to photograph these five foot long fronds of white blooms rising from some sort of succulent in the cliff walls. *

I pass by Hearst Castle. *I did not go in, but it is worth a visit for the lower-level swimming pool alone. *Lori and I visited it back when we were living in Los Gatos back in 1996. *Hewlett Packard had sent me there for a year and a half to do a project with Intel. * Lori was working on the Irridium project in Washington DC. *She would fly across the country every weekend, twice really. * This is not where her flying addiction *was born, but I think it is when she started free basing it.

Every weekend we would drive up to San *Francisco and bar hop in the downtown area. * There are so many lovely drinking establishments there, and I could smoke cigars in those days. * The nannies shut that part down. * I rode through the landscape and these memories at the same time.

I blazed through the stark beaches near Santa Cruz, past the Bonnie Doon winery we visited one day many years ago and on past Half Moon Bay. * It is overcast and cold still. * I had problems with the vest, because, for some reason today it was interacting with the vest I was wearing to burn the hell out of a spot on my left collar bone. * It was too hot to bear and I kept having to unplug the jacket.

I finlly got into San Francisco. *God I love this city. * I have so many fond memories of driving past these hills and hills of charming houses down into the core. * Of course traffic is busy. *The overcast has broken up into perfect puffiy clouds floating in front off an intense robin's blue sky. *It is so beautiful I could cry, but I think I have used up my crying bandwidth for the month and do not want to have to purchase more. *Riding a motorcycle someplace is different that driving a car there, so I am experiencing the familiar place in a wonderful new way.

I pass Golden Gate Park. *Crossing the bridge is a different experience again. *I can see the pain corrodding off the massive, arching cables. *How do men build this shit? * I had not intended to sop for pictures, but I do on the far end, then off again on super highway this time, so I burn some miles fast.

I get to Santa Rosa and realize I am probably not on highway 1. * I missed the point where it diverged from 101. * It is confusing because sometimes hey are the same road. *I wanted to do at least a bit more *coastal riding on 1 even though it will mean a bit of a detour at this point. *But I stop to figure this out in Santa Rosa, and immediately upon stopping I get hit with a collosal allergy attack. * It is rare I get the really bad ones, but when I do they can shut my eyes down in a matter of minutes. * Fortunately I had the sense to bring some antihystamine. *I could not have continued to ride at all if I had not, even to go find some. *But I was good to go and things calmed down prettty quickly.

I picked up 128 in Cloverdale, and briefly wondered if I should get a hotel there and watch Cloverdale on the iPad. * Nah. * I headed for the coast. *Even to me this seemed a little foolish. * I was already getting tired and I was committing to nearly 90 miles of unknown, and probably slow, twisty road when I could just blast up 101 to Eureak and be done with it. * 101 was a 65 mph multi-lane highway at this point. * I went anyway.

Twisty roads are what motorcycle riders want, but they are best when they are high speed S curves and the like. *When there are too many hairpins and low speed stuff it really is not fun and it slows you down a lot, breaks your rythm. * The road first passed through a beautiful oak forest. *Lush and thick, the trees arch over the road and crowd its edges. * Perfect dear ambush territory. *I ride as fast as I can, but the low speed stuff starts to really tax me. * I ride past a few villages and wineries, including Navarro, and then enter into a sublime redwood forest. * I feel that this alone has made the diversion worth it, but I haven't really started to hurt yet. *It is very dark under the canopy with just me and ferns, and presumably lurking deer. *Thin blades of ligh stab across the road and punch at your retina as you blast through. * All is going quite well with little traffic. * Then the road work starts.

I don't get delayed by the stop, but it does put me behind a line of 20 unpassable cars or so, and I am beginning to suffer hotel anxiety by now. *I don't like to take availabiliy for granted, since I almos did not get a room in Pecos, Texas. * It isn' high tourist season yet, so I was not super concerned, but I did not know graduation week was waiting to pounce.

I resolve to stop in Fort Bragg and call ahead for a room. *I get delayed by road work a couple more times, but I get to the Fort. * I am shaking and tired by now. * I don't want to deal with the reservation process and almost call Lori and ask her to do it, but I do it myself. *The Best Western Plus that I call does have a room, but it is over double the price you would usually pay. *She tells me it is graduation week, and that hotels are really booked. * I start to decline, but realize I just do not have it in me to sit in he parking lot of a gas station and shop. *I take the room. * I still have 110 miles to go, and the first 30 are of the obnoxious slow-speed twisty sort.

I stop to take a picture of the bike and the ocean. *I ride on. * The ride back to 101, was beautiful but excrutiaing. * My shoulder hurts like hell. * I am tired. * I am cold, because I do not stop to plug in the jacket. *My focus starts to wane. * I find myself drifting off into narratives and then realizing I have entered a turn a bit too fast. * There is heavy traffic of logging trucks on this road just as there had been on the road in, and they scare the hell out of you if you miscaculate and go too close to the center on turns. * It grinds me down, and I am really suffering. * I try to enjoy it as much as I can, because this is supposed to be bliss. * I focus as hard as I can on not making mistakes. *I shift my grip on the handles as much as I can to reduce pain. * On the freeway I can put my thumbs on top of he handles with the rest of my fingers which reduces stress on the thumb joints. * I cannot do it as much here, but I still do some times. * I think about how this seems as if I have lost my opposable thumb, and I drift off ino monkey thoughts.

I painfully make my way back to 101, expecting super-highway speed for the last 80 miles to Eureka. * I despair as I get there and see 101 has become a two lane road with twisties. * Make it stop! * No, there are not many low speed hairpins, but here I am averaging 40 mph, when I was hoping for 80.

I stop for gas like an F1 pit stop. *Vroom-in-boom-out-vroom. *Or at least it would have been like that, except somebody had to succumg to talk-to-the-guy-on-the motorcycle syndrome and I was delayed.

Back on the freeway and suddenly it turns in to divided freeway. *80 mph. *I am saved. * Then, wham, back to two lane twisties when it has to go *through a rugget part of the mountains. * At this point I am starting to feel like Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones season 3.

The pain and cold are quite bad now. * I think that if I get stopped for speeding, at least I can stop for awhile. *The wind buffetting my left ear begins to create an auditory hallucination of beeping music. * I am not entirely competent to be riding at this poing, but at least it is back to 80 mph. (65 legally).

When I get to Eureka I turn on the ipad gps and it leads me on this torturous 2 mile path to go the 300 yards or so I needed to go to get to the hotel.

Park. *Check in. * Get keys. * Park bike near room. *Lock top box to protect camera equipement. * Take a few loose things to room on second floor. *Drop bike key on bed. * Go back down and get luggage cart thinking about how nice it is I can do it in one trip with the cart. * Realize I left key in the room and will have to come back down for the stuff in the top box. * Take all the rest the stuff to the room. * Get motorcycle key. * Leave all room keys in the room. * Take luggage cart back down. * Go out to bike and realize I left all the room keys in the room. *Long walk back to front desk, * Wait behind fat woman wanting to pay pet deposit on a different card. * Get replacement key. * Laugh about what a jackass I am and how it is a good thing I am not still moving at 80 mph. * Get stuff from top box. * Go to room. *Sigh. *I am such a moron.

Dinner. *Writing. * Drink. * Exhausted.

Future: *Am I really going to keep doing this? * Jesus!
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:24 PM   #40
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Wrists

Note: Hours and hours of low-speed twisties puts a serious hurting on the wrists. The last two fingers on my right hand were pretty numb for a long while after that ride.
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:21 PM   #41
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Pacifica:

I woke up in the Best Western Plus at around 7. *I slept in. * This in has a big garden courtyard with a truly massive koi pond and you could hear the frogs that presumably were imported croaking at night. * Very nice. *The dinner at Mari Calendars was not that great. * I got wings and this tower of avocado and shrimp, and somehow they had contrived to make that tower have less flaver than a pile of poi. * Impressive in its own way I suppose, but not what you really want. * I meant to aim for Astoria Washington, but more importanly I intended to stop early to give myself something approximating a break. *I saw the weather forecast called for rain in Coos Bay, so I steeled myself for that.

I left Eureka listeining to Mark Levine in order to catch up on the multiplying scandals in Washington. * I enjoyed seeing the ocean make incursions inland, little inlets and bays that were clearly mixing with fresh water to create brackish marshes where I could see cattails and various marsh grasses. *Or it was only one kind of marsh grass. * You cannot really tell from a long way away at 55 mph, but various sounds more impressive.

I entered the redwood forest with not too much traffic around. * I have *visited this particular forest something like five times now, the first time in 1976 when my father took me and my siblings on a very long road trip to Canada and down the Pacific coast. *I took a few pictures but did not linger.

I entered Oregon to the greeting of hills and low mountains absolutely covered in greenery. * Obviously it rains a lot. * You can tell. * Incidentally, Seattle residents are uniformly defensive about the rain. * If you meet one, say something like, "I really like Seattle, but I cannot take the rain." *I promise you that the response will be, "Oh, it really does not rain that much in Seattle." * At which point you will break out the rejoinder, "Then why does moss grow on the sidewalks and the bannana slugs grow to the size of St. Bernards?" * Comedy gold.

Oregon offered many vistas of an agitatted ocean on the drive with the typical mountainous rocks a little way out into the surf. * I like the oregon coast, but it has never struck me as friendly. * I first saw the ocean as a teenager at Coos Bay Oregon, and that visit is still magical to me. * We went to the aquarium there. * I briefly considered doing that this time, but Meh, it was too long ago. *Why spoil the memory. * The Pacific in Oregon and Washington is grossly misnamed in my opinion as it is rarely peaceful in my experience. * I worked for the government at the Naval base in Bremerton Washington when I was in college for a summer job. * I spent some time at a test range in Nanaimo Canada, but one week we went out to a test range at Quinalt which is on the coast of Washington. * It was in the winter, and there was driftwood the size of houses on the beaches. * The team shot off a torpedo to take telemetry from it. *Then they had to recover it. * In the calm waters near the range in Nanaimo, they would use boats, but the waves at Quinalt this time of year were ten feet out on the test range I am told. * So they had to use a helicopter to retrieve the fish. *The ocean was so rough they almost crashed the chopper into the ocean before they finally pulled the torpedo out. * Again, so they said. * But I believe it.

The water was not that agitated, but it was rough. * It was a nice ride, but it rained lightly much of the way. * I was really nursing my hands, because the hours of twisties yesterday had massively tweaked my right wrist, and I am trying to avoid damaging the nerves. *I took a couple of alleve to keep the inflamation down. *Sitting typing this, I think it worked ok, because my hands seem more or less ok tonight.

All over I see yellow bushes of flowers that may be scoth broom. *It is very pretty but toxic for allergies. *There are also massive bushes of other flowers as large as big roses, pink, white, red. * There are very impressive and utterly pervasive. * I wish I knew what they are.

When I stop for fuel I encounter that ridiculous beureaucratic bullshit about Oregon that I had forgotten. They pump your gas for you. *I guess you can pump the gas if they hand you the pump. *If were to rank the idiotic government-mandated behaviors in America, this one may not be at the top, but it would certainly be in the top ten.

Eventually it starts to rain hard and I need to be more careful in the corners. * As the hours wear on the boredom leads to strange behavior. *I start to sing madee-up folk songs to myself in the style you would get if you gave Leon Redbone a liter of whiskey and then injected his mouth with novocaine. * Comedy bronze. * But I did end up inventing a creepy little folk song that I kind of like. * I will hone the verse and maybe do a video of it later if I can get some novocaine.

Riding through Coos Bay was fun, but I really don't remember much what it looked like, and in the rain I was not that motivated to go to the beach. *I just rode on, past the biggest sea cave in the world, with seals. *Uh sure, whatever. *The world is a big place, and you have little motivation to be honest. *Whatever a sea cave is.

The rain did not manage to soak through the Revit pants, but it was still relentless, and eventually I got cold enough to feel it even with the electric jacket. * I had been aiming for Tilammook for some time and as I got close I began really hopiing it was large enough to have the hotel and restaurant options I wanted. * It did. * I stopped. * I did less than 400 miles, but after yesterday I was determined to stop early. * It was 4:30.

The room was in the price range I wanted, and ok although not luxurious. * One nice thing about these small non-chain hotels though is you don't have to put up with the "Save the Earth by using your towel 50 times" bullshit you do with practically every major hotel, although every once in awhile even they surprise you.

I made a couple calls and headed for dinner to supplement the 400 or so calories I had already had.

They gave me a very good oyster stew and a rather unispiring rib eye.

Now I am forced to decide if I am going to the Olympic Peninsula or if I will skip it. * I have seen it all several times so I am leaning toward skip.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:41 PM   #42
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Find this somewhere in your near future.
http://www.amazon.com/2Wheel-Ride-GC...+throttle+lock
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:56 PM   #43
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Unstuck in Time:

Unless I have become unstuck in time, tomorrow is the 21st day of this trip. * I just wandered up the street in Chinook, Montana, to a lonely pharmacy to get some triple antibiotic cream in an effort to make sure *that the hole in the skin on my chest that was burned by my electric jacket. * When one begins to pay a price for warmth that is other than monitary, one is rather near the edge. * That is not an intentional allusion to the war on terror, but it would work in a pinch.

I wander the street like a zombie. * My caloric intake has been extremely low today, but I still am not super hungry. * I am curious what would happen if I did not eat tonight. * I won't find out. * I am sure I am still running off the calories from the great dinner last night with Chris and Liz. * I will relate that in sequence, but it was a lovely evening.

Two Mornings ago: * I woke up in Tilamook. * Bloody overcast again. * I grow weary of rain and being cold, *and yesterday my jacket was burning me. * Today I put on a shirt, because I thought it was a metal snap in the vest I was wearing that conducted the heat and that the shirt would protect me better. I try not to make a habit of being wrong, but it does seem to be a persistent result.

My final ride of the pacific coast gave me many wonderful images. *The bays and inlets, and what seemed to be tidal lakes around the Tilamook area are charming. *It is both a shame and a charm to think of this places as always cold. * It seems a cozy place to huddle for warmth. * Very soon the Scotch Broom, a brilliant yellow invasive weed, will grow over everything not moving and make *the place uninhabitable, or at least so I think as I see the vast seas of the shit extending their cobalt yellow embrace over the landscape.

The ocean is pissed off again today. * It is probably irritated that tectonics lift new stone out too fast for it to win the war of erosion. * I empathize a bit, but the ocean has time. * In the long run they will both succumb to heat death, so let them fret.

It rains. *I am cold, but Iearn later that part of the reason for that is that I left my summer gloves on. * I have always known that there are lots of blood vessels in the hands and that you need to keep them warm, but this is a reminder. * I put the heavy gloves on much farther down the road and feel a good deal warmer even though the temperature drops at least ten degrees to 40 F as I ride over White Pass in Washington.

Riding through Astoria I think that I really want to come back to this town for at least a day with Lori for the express purpose of photographing Victorian houses. * I spot one up the wooded hill festooned with flowers? *Maybe I am only hallucinating festooned is a word, but you will have to deal with it. * I was charmed, but not charmed enough to slow down. *Must. * Ride.

The rain and my chilly discomfort make the final decision for me. * To hell with the Olympic Peninsula. *I have seen it many times, and I have not compelling need to take my bike to Hurricane Ridge. *I need to cut time and miles. * I am nursing my wrists along, but I do not need slow twisties today. *I will go through the national park at Rainier and hope to get a view of the mountain. * I have not seen the old girl for many years. * I went cross-country skiing here back in 1983 or so when I was interning at the Keyport torpedo base. * That may very well be the last time I saw it. * I have been in the area several times, but the mountain is typically hiding behind a veil of mist and rain clouds despite the fact that it simply never rains in Seattle. * This time was no different. *I did not see it.

At some point on the road I see a car about a quarter mile in front of me light its brake lights. * I think nothing of it until I see three elk at the side of the road, one actually almost on the road itself. * I am too much of a coward to try riding past these wretched rats on stilts at any speed given how spastic they can be, so I pull over and rev my engine until they resect my authoritah and run off in the opposite direction. * I ride on gloating over my superiority, but still generally lacking opposable thumbs.

As I said before, going over White Pass got cold. * The temp dropped to 40, but I felt wider. *Somewhere near the top I encountered someone on another bike in front of me. * The twisties down off the pass were fun and it stopped raining so they were also dry. * He was in front and faster than I, *but we both were moving fast, passing other cars when we had to, sometimes legally. * Washington cops are speeding nazis, but fortunately we encountered none. Every time he outpaced me he would get caught up by a car that slowed him enough for me to catch up. * At the bottom I stopped to check the way and he went on. **

I stayed on the freeway headed for Spokanne Washington. * Things warmed for a bit and then got very cold again as I climed a long way to cross a hill that was covered in desert. * I was aiming for Hayden Lake to get a hotel and have dinner with someone I knew in high school. *I stopped somewhere to call, and learned that they intended me to stay with them at their house. * It sounded good to me so I went on. **

I arrived in Hayden, a different incorporation from Hayden Lake (some sort of liquor license brouhaha), and stopped to buy a couple bottles of wine in case they had also intended to eat in. * I *arrived at their lovely house with a view onto a golf course green fairly early. * Chris and Liz set me up in their guest room. * I showered and it is here I realized that the electric jacket had actually burned a hole in my skin. Oh well, if you want to make mayonnaise, you have to break a few eggheads, so whatever.

We walked to a pub very near their house, also on the golf course, and had dinner. * I ate a lot. * I tried the gumbo, because Chris said it was very spicy. * He was right. * It is probably the spiciest dish I have ever had served to me in a restaurant, but it was very good. * I still have the remains of a cough from the cold though, and it made me want to cough a lot. *I also had the baby *back ribs that we all had. * They were good. * It was served with corn bread that had a brown sugar glaze. * That was good too, but I did not eat all of it, because, well, I try to limit carbs even when ravenous.

We went back and sat by the massive fire pit on their back porch and polished off a bottle of wine as the sun went down. * I have to say that all of the ridiculous pain and expense is recompensed a bit having been able to meet Jeff, Brian, Jeanne-Anne, Eric, Heahter, and Mile in Florida and Chris and Liz in Hayden Lake. * I really do feel bad about not slowing down to say hello to Kelley in Texas, but at that point in the trip I was extra desperate for the miles and had not planned a stop.

I crashed to a quiet and peaceful night of typically unusual dreams.

Up early. * Coffee with the hosts, and then on with the self abuse. * I put my sweatshirt on this time to protect me from burns. * I reduces the feeling of warmth, but I guess I am full up with wounds for now. *I ride out of Hayden Lake seeing a single, long, low string of cloudy mist about 200 feet above the lake.

Long, long, and long. * Riding. *Montana is great, but this early part of the day has already faded a bit into the ravages if time. * I remember racing over yet another pass into clouds that look like their deepest desire is to snow. * It is too warm for me to worry, but arctic disaster fantasies intrude nevertheless. * It gets very cold and foggy near the top, and then clears a bit as I descend into Helena.

I aim for Great Falls, where Lori and I stayed on our long road trip several years ago. * I ride out into the middle of the great sky. * I have no idea why they call Montana, "Big Sky Country", but I think it is because its eastern plains, unlike those in Wyoming and Colorado, are quite verdant, and you tend have 360 degree views of stratocumulus clouds piling up destruction as they mosey on through. *Easter Montana really is an incredibly beautiful place. * I ride through that 360 cloudsape trying not to crash as I gape at the massive clouds trying to figure how to paint them. * Eventually I end up under some of them I was ogling. * I see gray rain left and right and thin ribbons to the left front. * I get hit by a bit. **

I am moving very fast, praising the lack of cops. *I enter a ravine of broken granite of many colors. *Ochre, green, touches of blue, and a lot of rosy gray. * I exit that ravin into a a glacial valley typical of Montana. * Such wide, lime green stretches of velvet-looking grass rising to forested hills obviusly careved by the slow, frigid flensing of huge masses of ice. *I ride through one and another, and yet another of these. * The rich green fading into bowl-cut hills is intense. * I would love to live here were it not for the fact that the winters are not fit for humans.

One cannot remember much of a ride like this. * How many seconds of even one ten hour ride can be stored by the brain? * Then multiply that by 19 or so, subtracting out days spent swimming in the Atlantic and wandering through grave yards in New Orleans. * It is hopeless. * Yet still you get flashes that will stay forevver. *I ride past a row of low ore cars on a railroad. * For many miles they flaunt their yellow against the sky with its massive thunder clouds and their almost complementary blueness. * Yellow and yellow and yellow and yellow agains this massive cowering of white and multiple hues of blues. * If I could only throw in a bit of purple for the actual complement, I might drive off the road with natural color overdose. * Amazing. * I may try to paint an abstract version of this some day.

I stopped in Helena to make sure I had a place to stay in Chinook, because Yelp tells me they only have one hotel in town, and I am nearing the chaos of the oil fields in North Dakota. * I am set, so I ride there to encounter one of the most depressing rooms on the trip. * Fair enough. * There is a price to be paid for the excellence of last night.

I wander the streets for a bit, zombie-like. *I go get the antibiotic cream and more alleve, which I am taking somewhat liberally to keep inflamation down in my wrists. *I go the the restaurant at the hotel, the only restaurant in town, and ask for a margarita. * The waitress serviing me goes to get the grizzled waitress who knows how to make drinks. * She rummages around in their liquor and informs me that she does not have the stuff to make that. * She apologizes that the bar here really is not properly stocked. *I quietly assure her that we will get through it, but she seems rather unimpressed with my stellar wit. * I guide her through the construction of a martini, which becomes a bit ridiculous, but she delivers something that has the merit of not being anywhere near as bad as what you would get if you ordered a martini in Amsterdam. * I order Salmon and wine and settle into pounding out this bullshit. * Cheers.
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:24 PM   #44
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Location: Denver Colorado Area
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The Long Nonwinding Road:

I guess today's theme is roads that run straight forever and hypothermia.

The room last night was really dingy and depressing, and the restaurant was run by mentally challenged young women. * I feel for them, but *you have to call it as it is. *I ended up in a dreary saloon to have a drink and watch game of thrones. * On the plus side, the drinks were dirt cheap.

It was thirty eight degrees out when I got up, easily the coldest it has been on the trip. * Normally cold is not a huge problem with the electric jacket, but I am wearing a sweatshirt to preserve my skin from broiling and it blunts the warming effect.

The eastern part of Montana is less beautiful than the west, but it is still nice. * Very flat and generally green but with more of the semi arid areas common to Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. **

I was headed to Williston North Dakota to check out what I could see of the fabled oil fields up there. * The roads on the way were arrow straight and built for speed. * I went fast as I knew I was losing another hour to the time zone effect. * The wind started up. * I begin to despair of having any of my remaining days be actually pleasant. **

Williston definitely had a lot of truck traffc, many of them covered with mud. * Many of the hotel parking lots were very full. * I saw a couple specialty lodging places. * One had rank upon rank of these funky mobile buildings that were built as row houses on wheels. * Later down the road I saw something that *looked like a military barracks with, again, rank upon rank of simple rectangular buildings for lodging. * This is very odd, and I have never seen anything like it.

Of the oil wells, I did see many, but they seemed fewer and far less ugly than the ones in Maricopa. * Here they at least do as they do in Colorado and paint them earth tones to try to make them less of an eyesore. * But with all the activity, there must be hundreds of wells I did not see. * I am not sure what I expected, perhaps a grid of wells for as far as the eye can see (which probably is not very far if your vision is being blocked by oil wells).

The ride east on highway 2 out of Williston was damned brutal. *I had to go 120 miles with a very bad side wind. * I wore me down. * My neck hurt from buffeting and from hunching, *because I became increasingly chilled. *Eventually I was breathing as you do when you are in pain. *Take a breath, hold it briefly, and then puff it out. * It was really hard and took forever. * I got really bad fuel mileage on the bike, around 33 mpg I think.

At Minot the road swuns south and thankfully the wind was at my back not, but there was still another 120 miles to Bismark. * I had altered plans. * I was not initially planning to go through Chicago, but decided to do so to visit the in-laws. * But it works out best for them if I show up on Friday. * Given that my natural schedule would put me there Thursday mid-afternoon, I decided to go south and knock off South Dakota so that I would not have to veer way north to hit it on the way back as *I was originally planning. * Hence Bismark as a destination. * If I still get into the Great Lakes area way early, I may try to circle around into Michigan before backtracking a bit to Chicago.

I ride as fast as I can getting lucky with cops more than once, and I get colder. * I start to shiver a bit. *But I think, "At least it isn't raining." * Then it starts to rain. * It has been 45 degrees for a very long time.
By the time I get there and figure out where to stay, I am shivering worse than I have since I almost gave myself hypothermia riding the rebel in the mountains of Colorado in September.

I unload stuff into the hotel and take a very long shower. * Then I walk a mile in the rain to a Brazilian Grill nearby that got good yelp reviews. * In general I do not like the Brazilian Grill "all you can eat" format, but I hope for something other than than all you can eat, as I cannot really eat all that much.

At this point I hope this deep overcast is not here tomorrow, and frankly I suspect it may snow here tonight.
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Old 05-22-2013, 05:40 PM   #45
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Location: Denver Colorado Area
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Danger Will Robinson:

The day seduced me and then left me for another.

I am not exactly sure what that means, but maybe I will figure it out.

I got up at he usual time, around 6 am. *I knew the forcast for Bismarck was 72 degrees with a 20% chance of rain, so my hopes were high for a decent day. * It started that way.

I got up and the sky was clear and sunny with only a few high herring bone clouds, still colored by the sunrise. * It was cold, maybe 40, I don't recall, but I figured it would warm fast since the forecast was 72. *

The Dakotas finally gave me something to feel good about. * There are many small and funny shaped lakes of various sizes along the sides of the highway. * Well, lakes is more than any of them really deserves to be called. * Most of them are ponds, but they are coldly glorious lit up in the brigh sun. *Their grasses grasped at the sky. * And the green of the grass on the ground is vivid. * And it really looks like some very crude lawn grass. * It all sits like velvet on rolling hills. * I remember thinking, "Hobbits might live here". * Really the hills are not generally large enough for that. * But the overall feeling has "Shire" tatooed on its forehead.

I *kept riding by these rows of trees, obviously deliberately planed, that ran perpendicular to the highwayd and each row separated from the next by maybe 100 yards. * They seemed like field markers or something. * Very odd. * I wondered if they were wind breaks, but the trees were not that close together. * Later on I road past many huge piles of wood and cut trees in the same configuration. * I still cannot be sure it was not some rediculously planned and executed ironic joke, butt if it was, I totally got it.

I went past a sign announcing that this was Lawrence Welk's home town, and then I was pretty sure the whole day was a joke. * It was, and it was on me.

But seriously, I rode past several litttle villages in this shire that were just " get on your knees and kiss the ground" gorgeous. *I did think, "Man THIS is America." * As David Byrne sang, *"I would'nt live there if you paid me to"

The day really was not warming up, but frankly I would be happy if it had stopped at just being cold.

The territory really did look like duck hunting paradise, and I did see a few ducks flying overhead across *the road. * Many smaller birds were flying across the road, occasionally in pairs. * Several times the little *birds had to alter their path avoid me. * Does in make me a girl if I would have been really bummed to kill one of them? * Answer: *yes.

Why did these birds feel the need to fly across the road at about five feett above the ground. * I mean, they have wings. * The sky is the limit, and here they were massively altering the morning fly to avoid me. * Damnit. * It was like I was the deer in their morning experience. *Perhaps I am overt thinking it.

I went across a couple of sections of road with signs warning of rough road and bumps. * I hit the bumps at 60 mph and wonder why they wasted the time making a sign. * I hit the first patched section. * This is a very short area of the road thatt seems to have a big patch, but it really is not bad at speed, so I basically do not slow for the second. * Something looks a bit odd, but I fly across. * The third one was mud. *I swear I felt the rear tire move in another way than forward. *I may have imagined it, I am not sure, but I am cerain that this low area had mud it it. * I am not disconcerted enough to slow down generally, but I do plan to pay attention to warning signs more attentively from now on.

Shortly after this it begins to rain. *I have my core apparel on in this order: *Deviant Art hoodie, electric jacket, Revit motorcycle jacket. * As I said earlier, this cuts down on the effectiveness of the electric jacket, but it also keeps the jacket from charring holes in my skin.

But as the rain continues, and the temperature holds a 45, I realize this is no going to cut it as I am not even half way yet and I am already beginning to shiver. * I stop at a gas station and stand in front of a family restaurant and strip from the waste up. *Good thing I got that right. * I put the electric jacket on first, then the hoodie, then the motorcycle jacket. * To shield my skin, I use this triangular piece of material whose intent is to hold water and wrap around your neck in hot weather to provide evaporative cooling. * In this context it keeps my flesh from melting. * I am still too stupid to put on the *actual rain jackett above the motorcycle jackett. * I really should have as it would have prevented the hoodie and my Revit jacke from getting wet, as they inevitably did since it rained for over 300 miles.

Oh, and wind too. *Fantastic. *Just great. * At least it is not as bad as yesterday, and yes I probably would rather have rain than wind if given the choice, but together they suck, and not in the good way.

After making the wardrobe modification, my legs begin to shiver very badly for a few seconds. *This is pre-hypothermia behavior, and I begin to wonder if I can keep going. * But just after that I am forced to ride at 50 mph for awhile by road work, and I begin to feel warmer. * I stop shivering. * The electric heat against the skin is much more effective, and I am pretty sure I can continue now.

I road for many many miles, heading east in South Dakota toward Minnesota. * Somewhere along here (I do not even recall where) I encounered more road work. *But this was in a town. * They had the highway route through town shut down for work, and they dutifully provided a detour. * Through. *Fucking. * Mud! * Some towering intellect of a tactical toady for some road company or local junta decided to make tthe detour over about an eigth of a mile of dirt. * ...all of which is filled wih both well and goodiness if it is DRY! * But it is raining, and this little section of road, more pockmarked with little holes than a teenage girl after a bout of *smallpox, is also slick as snot. * This is clear as I follow a semi onto it.

My heart rate is well above its resting rate I assure you, and every muscle in my body save one is instantly hyper-tense. * I know that does not help, but I cannot relax into this. * Let me just say that my dirt riding skills are meager at best on a bike thatt weighs one third what the F800 weighs. * My mud riding skills are non existent with knobbies. * On street tires I am doomed. * The KLX 250 I could probably duck walk it through, but on the F800 if I put any foot wrong it will go down anyway. *Oh yeah, and I am cold and tired. * When I enter this section of road I have no idea how long it is. *I am too busy trying to avoid crashing to be scared. * Well, ok, I guess I was scared. * There were semis passing within feet of me in the opposite direction. *I do not know how I made it. * Yes, the back tire did become squirrely, and the bike began to fish tail. *Somehow I stayed up. * Yes, yes, we all know an off at this speed ain't that big a deal (unless I slide under the wheels of a semi), but a crash could still end the trip in a number of unpleasant ways even if I don't break my ipad which is in a messenger bag over my shoulder. * My arms were in serious pain, and I was very out of whack when I saw pavement. * Pavement, pavement, pavement. *Please. *I make it.

I still feel very cold and shiver some. * I had planned to head south to hit whatever state is below Minnesota, Iowa I think, when I decided to check. *Minneapolis is right at the 500 mile range I want tto hit, so I decide to go there, just so I have a big place I can measure my progress against and be assured of a hotel when I get there.

After another long, cold, painful ride, I arrive and grab the first convenient hotel I see, which ends up being a Hilton propert, so it is expensive, but I can't take any more. *This morning I thought that I did not think I would have been able to go had it been overcast and raining, but the sun secuded me into another hard day. * I need to start using the rain jacket, but tomorrow in Minneapolis says 67 degrees and no chance of rain. * I could really use a dry and pleasant day.

I come to Olive Garden for food after lifting weights a bit in the weight room at the Hilton. *Olive Garden gets a lot of shit from snobbish foodies (one of which I am), but I am grateful for a motivated and competent staff serving above average fast service food.

I have decided from this day that I am going to try to slow it down a bit. * It is rather difficult to get up every day at about 6 and to ride for ten hours or so without res. * Swimming against the time zone makes it even more difficult. * But I honestly am not seeking to die doing it, so I need to slow down a bit. *I don't mean stopping or taking rest days. *I do not need rest days, but on days like today, I need to take the time to sweat all the details more carefully.

I hope tomorrow is dry.
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