Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Things I learned on my Saddlesore 1000

I have now had 3 months to reflect on the saddlesore ride and have had the opportunity to test out some items that were niggling away at me during the ride.  Writing the series itself was more than somewhat cathartic. It also allowed for a thorough lessons learned session as I reviewed my notes and replayed the sequences of the events.  This edition will focus on those thoughts, solutions implemented, and new variables that were subsequently introduced which need further testing.

"Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.."
My dad was doing a lot of commuting back and forth from Philly to Western VA about 15 years ago after his employer of 25 years locked the doors one night and moved to china. 

He found a "new" song on his ride with the title above.  He thought I may like it.  I stopped short of telling him that was the "pot smoking hippie music" he railed against for 20 years when I lived at home back in the day.  I was the bigger man and smiled, knowing I won the music taste battle.  The song does have a point though when taken out of context.  Whether it is a long commute in a cage, or 700-1000 mile stretch on 2 wheels, company in your noggin is good.  In my truck, I have Sirius radio and love it. I like music that isn't necessarily standard after burning through the classic rock stations for so many years.  Jam on, blues, dead, bluegrass it's all in the variety.  Singing east bound and down 40 times in a row to yourself may be fun, but pulls the sanity question into play after a while.

Solution is unquestionably the Sena smh-10. I purchased one a few weeks after the trip and can't even fathom how I did without. Pairs easily with my phone, great sound and phone calls work if I need them. I'm a buyers remorse kind of guy, not here, not a bit.  My friend Drummond got one as well and it excels in coms mode as well.  Highly recommend.  Sold my brother on one as well for his new scooter. Now I just have to haul on up to NH to check it out.

Lights, cameras, action.
Tiger lights suck as documented earlier.  Got some 1600 lumen led's from Komy on ebay. Mounted low and outside on the sw motech crashbars. Love them.

Iron butt?
Not so much. I love the stock seat. I can move on it and no real pressure points.  1000 miles showed the weaknesses. I resolved to make a big purchase if I finished successfully. Id need help if I was going to do 5,500 in 7 days this summer. Researched extensively and founds lots of options for custom builds. Everything kept pointing back to the Russell day long if you wanted to for it right.  Figure there was no chance for finding a good used one so resolved to drop $600 plus dig around for a blown out seat for the pan. In my search for the pan, lo and behold I ran into a guy willing to part with his. It was exactly what I was looking for and saved likely $350 in the end. Seat is all it is cracked up to be. Longest trip so far was 750 miles in a day for a tag on the Ohio border.  Felt as good as I did when the day started.

Worlds toughest riders...
Not sure what I think about that line. I'm not one of the toughest by a longshot. Part of me suspects some tough dude is going to take exception to it. I used to be physically tough when I played rugby in college,  now, not so much. Saddlesore is a mental toughness thing however,  and that I still have.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I am Iron Butt (Conclusion)

"My god, look at all of this destruction."

I had not been on 81 long at all after my breakfast stop when I went through the town of Pulaski, NC.  Mother nature had been here, and she had been pissed.  A tornado had been through here last year I later learned and left an indelible mark on these people's lives and their homesteads.  Not a tree was left in tact, though the piles of debris were still abundant.  Treetops co-mingled with bunk beds.  It had crossed the highway where I now sped and continued its' destructive ways up over the next hill.  Amazing and humbling how fickle she can be.  I wish these fine citizens of this town the best of luck.  They didn't have much that harrowing night for sure.

Mile marker 0.

I cross the Tennessee line to little fanfare other than my own nuisance making efforts.  No bands, no ticker tape.  Only Fasmart 471 and its decrepit pumps and a convenience store parking lot stacked with vehicles in even worse shape.  The time was 10:35 and the odometer read 14,747.  529 miles from home and all I could do was smile like a guy who just got laid for the first time.  3.665 gallons in 172 miles.

The only note on my trip log was this ->>  "I WANT MORE!!!"

That pretty much sums it up.  No literary finagling necessary.

Perhaps it was my state of mind, but I took one of only 3 pictures on this trip in the Fasmart parking lot so I could prove I was really in Bristol, TN.  This may be the worst picture I have ever taken.  I had other things on my mind and I was gettin busy livin. The other bonus of this trip was that this ride was no longer the miserable trip I used to take with my ex.  It now belongs to me.  I will own this memory and this road in a positive light from this day forth.

The trash bag liner went into the top box, along with the neck gaiter. The Gerbings gloves were replaced with ventilated leather.  It was march and it was time for some summertime riding.  I may be the luckiest guy on earth at this particular point and time.

New song for the ride home.  It's cheesy and predictable but it's a classic, and it fits my buoyed spirits.  I will have a Coors in Texarcana, likely in 2013 on my trip to Needles, CA if anyone has any suggestions.  For today, I will just sing it to myself a couple dozen times and laugh at Buford T Justice quotes as I count up to 323 from 0.

208.6 miles later and a solid  20 miles past 0 miles left till empty, I pull myself away from the 50th "Boy when I get home.." and slide off of exit 205 into Raphine, VA, under full Triumph power at 13:01, into Smileys Fuel City.  Smileys sign out front informs me it is the home of the "Best BBQ in VA".  There is some question if that is really 13:01 or 14:01 as daylight savings happened the previous weekend, but I didn't care.  The sun was shining, the jiggly weather girls were right, it really was the perfect day to be doing anything other than sitting in a cubicle.

It was perhaps a foolhardy decision at the time, but I was getting cocky.  I remember Jim's advice to "have fun, THAT'S the bottom line".  I sprayed the chain with some dupont teflon, put in 4.18 gallons (DOH!) and stripped off the fleece.

Mr Smiley, your ass is mine.  I'll be the judge of these here claims to the best BBQ.

Well, about 3 minutes after receiving my order of brisket and a dousing with a melange of sauces at the self service bar, this is what remained as I washed the goodness down with some good old fashioned, hot summer's day, caffeinated Coca-Cola.  Had I turned the camera around, my face would have looked similar to that napkin dispenser, only covered in Texas style mesquite sauce.

I will do the rest of this trip on my own terms.  I was no longer worried about the clock.  I have now ridden further than any other single day of my two-wheeled career and I yearn for more.  My only regret is that I didn't have a Dr Pepper to stick with the theme.

45 minutes later I have my camelback refilled for the second time this trip and bugs removed from the visor.  East bound and down has been fun for the last couple hours, let's stick with that you maniac as Chiron fires up with as much vigor as its' better half.

225, 250, 275, 300, 323. A honk, wave and and an ADV style salute to West Virginia, and the same goes for you Maryland shortly thereafter.

Maybe I should have held off on the ADV salute to MD.  My credit card at the Hagerstown Shell station was declined since it was the 4th time I used their network today.  Hah, you have to do more than that to stop me. It's all good, I don't care, that girl at Falling Waters WV returned my backup plan to me many miles and smiles ago.  Here's an Andrew Jackson.  You can stick him in your ass once I leave for all I care, I am riding and my face hurts from smiling.  I have another gas receipt from a new state and the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania can be seen just over the next rise.  I am east bound and down YFF's.

PA gets more of the same minutes later as I return to my homeland.  A statey is in his hidey hole right across the line looking for guys like me. Guys who aren't paying attention and are bitching on their cellphone about their shitty day at the office to their old lady who doesn't give two shits except when he will be home. I'm going the speed limit with a smile that says it all beneath my lifted lid to let this day fill my every pore. Today ain't your day pal.  I swear I see him laugh at my antics across the line behind his Buford T Justice specs.  Perfect.  I may be an idiot, but there is no law against that and he knows it.  Yet another memory to file away, maybe someday I will write about this experience. 

19:37 on the day of my departure and the light is quickly fading across a lightly streaked pink and purple sky.  These are my little girls 2 favorite colors and I have thought of her often today.  I hope some day she can enjoy a passion to the extent her father does.  I can't wait to squeeze the living shit out her tomorrow when I pick her up from school.  

My receipt spits out from the Bethlehem Pennsylvania Exxon 4 minutes later as the tiger drinks her final cocktail of 3.162 gallons of super. My sidestand has gone down each time, my gloves are in tact.  I have all my receipts, and I even have my wallet.  Home is only 0.36 miles away as the crow flies.  I snap a picture of the GPS for posterity. On the 2 minute ride home I begin to ponder if I can do this several days in a row and maybe, just maybe, if the stars align and I can recreate this feeling, if perhaps Grand Teton would be so kind as to bless me with her shadow this summer after I cross the Mackinaw bridge.  If she doesn't, that's fine with me, because as you may have noticed by now, for me it's about the journey, not the destination.

Respectfully submitted,


I am Iron Butt (Part 9)

"Buuuurp, flitch, schlup, schlup, schlup", says Phase 1 reluctantly.

"Err, that's no help", says I.

The mile markers to Roanoke are ticking down like the shot clock in an NCAA Final 4 cinderella game, and I needed to pick my shot.  I was nursing a lead but my opponent was showing signs of life.  Computers usually help me out of these kind of binds.  Teetering above my tiger  there was no hope of that familiar crutch helping now.  Phone a friend wasn't an option.  Even if phone a friend was an option, I would have gotten a "My suggestion is to have a PBR and find a 24 hr strip club" in response.  I was alone on this fools errand.  I guess that's the whole point.  Can you keep your shit together in good times and bad?  Not a bad lesson to be learned regardless of the final grade.

Phase 1 had been in solid hibernation now for almost 5 hours.  It was as slow to awaken as it was this morning in the confines of my shower.  Irish Spring hadn't made much of a dent. Flashing dotted centerlines and wind-noise wasn't helping the rejuvenation process at the moment.  Come on buddy, you can do it.  I could really use some help here.  What the heck am I supposed to do?

Two diametrically opposed options were on the table. "Plan your ride, ride your plan" or "Improvise, Modify, Adapt and Overcome"? I always found it fascinating that the latter is attributed to the United States Marine Corps.  Military organizations for 3,000 years have been founded on the principles of do what you are told, when you are told, how you are told according to a strict chain of command. Leap without looking. My old man and brother were both US Navy men and knew this chain well.  My father floated above the seas and my brother below. The battlefields of Gettysburg, to which I passed so closely this morning, and countless other stretches of farm land in this great state where my current journey has led me have seen 100's of thousands of my forefathers meet their end in this way both for and against this Union.  The Lee-Jackson Highway which I passed this morning was a good attempt to keep their memories alive, but a paltry reward in comparison to the price paid by the men who served under them. History seems to canonize the Atilla's, Green Mountain Boys, George Washington , Erwin Rommel and his arch nemesis and my own personal hero, Gen. G.S. Patton. All had a knack for improvisation and were attuned to the art of guerrilla tactics.   When the global fan starts spinning out of control due to some poopie buildup on the blades, who gets called?  The Marines who honorably wear the Stars and Bars of their fathers.  Thank you to all who serve, regardless of branch, or flag, so I, and your countrymen and women, can undertake silly journeys of 1000 miles in 24 hours on their motorcycle.

I digress... but I am the author so suck it.

I needed to pull off of this ribbon of quandary my tax dollars have subsidized, and Improvise, Modify, Adapt and Overcome.  Good to have you back old friend.  Decision made.

Roanoke traffic was building, but I could dutifully keep to the speed limit or just below as I steamed through.  Not so bad, minor crisis averted.  I need some grub and a plan for the daddy mac.

I leave the city limits of Roanoke without incident and begin to see the signs for my current terror as I look for an exit where I can get a McBurrito.  Blacksburg, VA serves as the gateway to hell, and 81 has become my solid version of Styx.  In the distance I catch a glimpse of the first big 8x6 ft square orange roadside trailer that the DOT uses to let travelers know they are screwed beyond all recognition.  I had 3 miles to my exit and now I am stuck in the left lane with JB Hunt's finest to my right.  I need to see this sign to aid in my planning stop and make this nightmare a reality I can dissect with facts, not fears.  The GPS affixed to my handlebars will set the mark for max speed for the trip at this juncture.  I apologize to the LEO community for what I have done, it only lasted about 10 seconds.  Err, it wasn't me, I'm holding it for a friend? Just between you and I, that Kenworth didn't have a snowball's chance...

As I clear the fender of the Kenworth and make my calculations to get over to the right I see it.  I blink my eyes and shake my head to be sure what I think I saw is actually there and not some mirage of fatigue.  The message remained the same.

NO BLASTING TODAY.  NO BLASTING TODAY it screamed in 900 font every 4 seconds in all of its amber glory. A message conveyed as eloquently as Kate Smith belting out God Bless America.  I was 7 years old and still remember Kate's performance on UHF like it was yesterday.  That started a losing streak for my Flyers which continues to this day.  As I type this today, the message from that Virgina Department of Transportation sign is my most vivid of the trip, by a mile.   I was wound up tighter than a banjo for the last hour or 2, time no longer matters except for 02:36 tomorrow which was just a hair over 18 hours away. The pressure release delivered by that sign was tremendous.

I screamed back at that most beautiful of inanimate objects.  Pretty much...well...EXACTLY like Henry Hill in the Shower in Goodfellas .  I didn't look at myself in my mirrors, but I can guarantee that's what my facial expression looked like as I rounded that Kenworth's  fender.

After all the worrying, I decide to delay the breakfast stop and get through the construction before the sign changed its mind.  I never did cut that Kenworth off and good thing too as my mind was where it should be to mess with that much iron.  I had enough gas to make it to Bristol, now that I wouldn't waste it in neutral.  The construction was really a site to behold.  They were taking a pretty good sized mountain they had cut through to lay the original road and were widening it another 20-30 yards.  Caterpillar had some serious profits on the books from this job.  There were massive yellow vehicles swarming everywhere, but the lanes were clear and it's all I cared about.

At 08:55 I found my McBurrito and a cup of pansy-ass decaf in Dublin VA, mile marker 96.  I felt fantastic as I lubed the chain on the tiger who was running without a hitch, as it has done for the last 8 months and 10,000 miles.  How the PO only put 5K on her in 4 years I don't know, he was pretty busy farkeling though.  His loss and my gain.  At McDonalds, there was a guy riding across country on his bicycle. He covered in religious prison tattoos, and his bike trailer covered in "Jesus Saves" signs.  I was curious about what made this dude tick, but sensed there was no hope it would be a 2 minute conversation.  His iron was tougher than mine I am sure and I wish him luck.

After a 20 minute respite and some bodily fuel only, then it was back at it.  Get busy living, or get busy dieing were some pretty famous words uttered by Red in Shawshank Redemption.  Today I was choosing to live, and live on my own terms.  No one will care if I make it or fail miserably. Today, only I care about the outcome and that was enough.

As I merged back on to southbound 81, I sensed the half-way turnaround was now well within my sites.  Bristol, TN is just over the border  I tried to temper the foolish sense of invincibility that was growing inside me to no avail.  I had no idea what the rest of this adventure had in store for me today, but I relished the opportunity to experience it.

"Southbound" by the Allman Brothers was the song stuck in my head most of the morning, guiding me down the highway in dark and in light.  I missed a lot of classes in college and more than a few days of work seeing them more than 50 times in concert over the years.  I just put an acoustic version of those sweet sounds on now to put me back in the moment of this incredible (for me) journey to allow me to finish this installation of the story, while remembering both periods of my life with great fondness.

Giddy up.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I am Iron Butt (Part 8)

I know I am firmly entrenched in phase 3 because the proverbial ass kicking over the wallet subsided about 5 or 10 miles outside of Falling Waters, WV.  Had this happened at Wawa at 02:30, it would have been a different story.  Live for the moment and take Jim's advice and enjoy every mile.  I was certainly heeding that sage advice thus far.

No shit.  I'm not tired, not even a little.

After the rough start to the day and the nonsense that led up to it, I was sure I would be fighting the sleepy eye about now as I sizzled through the darkness, respectful of the radar gun buffer of the posted speed limit.  I knew I would be ok once I could see the sun. The only way for me to sleep during the day is to have a medium sized hangover and put on my own personal Ambien which is the Masters or NASCAR. I wasn't thinking about staying awake.  In retrospect, I wasn't thinking about anything at all.  It was as if I was just sitting there and sub-consciously reading and reacting to my surroundings. It was 05:20 and and sunrise was in 1 hour 55 minutes.  I can DO this.

"Virginia Welcomes You" the sign announces. Right back at-cha.  I wave and beep at the greeting, as is my custom, and get on with the business of shagging this big bitch.  Mile marker 323 of a descending pattern lets me know just how much is ahead of me.  646 miles out of the 1048 will occur in this state with so much history for my nation, of which I am so proud. Hopefully I don't make much history of my own and am able to pass through unnoticed in my bidirectional assault. I make a mental note of the 323 since on the way back I will be counting up to do my 'figgerin.

Rt 81 is such an easy ride.  Especially once you hit WV and VA where the posted speed bounces manically between 65 and 70 for no apparent reason.  Just as the sky took on that awesome shade of purple that marks the official start of a new day, I noticed Exit 205 had a large yellow and black billboard boasting the "Best BBQ in VA".  I wondered how many smoker toting pickup drivers took that as a personal offense when driving this interstate.  No mention of awards and their dates, just plain old best 'cause his momma said so I guess.  Too bad it was so early, too early for even BBQ which I usually cannot be denied.  Today was about making tracks, not sightseeing.  The real Iron Butt folks have a saying "Plan your ride, ride your plan".  BBQ was certainly not anywhere in my plan for today so on the Pilot Road 3's spun.

It seemed the next tank drained to the amber warning light pretty quickly.  Traffic picked up a bit with the morning commuters cursing themselves for being in a cage on what all the bubbly and busty weather girls were predicting to be the definition of a perfect day.  How did Al Roker get that job?? I of course was smiling about my predicament, so much so the cheeks on my face were about the only area of unusual discomfort.  The cheeks on my seat made nary a whimper.

"Here comes the sun do-do-do-dah.."

Buchanan, VA 07:40.  VA mile marker 168.  357 miles into this adventure and I successfully made it through night 1 about 20 minutes ago.  Miles to empty said 0 for the last 4 miles. I broke my own rule a couple miles back and exited without actually seeing the Marquee for the gas station and was jolted by the "3 miles thataway" sign at the bottom of the exit ramp.  Screw that, I am on a schedule.  Tached it back up to 5K and kept looking until I saw what the Tiger so desperately thought that it needed. 178.1 miles since Falling Waters.  4.328 gallons of Shell V-Power later I am cursing the ECU of this beautiful beast I occasionally refer to as Chiron.  Technically, we are both Chiron, but I'll let my readers figure that one out if they are so inclined.  There was another gallon in there and I swear to run deeper past 0 since the greedy bitch holds out on me for  80-100 miles in her thirst for more of the good stuff. The thought of pushing my top-heavy partner to the finish line somewhat tempered my enthusiasm for the plan as I chewed it over throughout the day.

I ask the lady inside about the construction that's about 1.5-2 hours ahead of me.  It's my biggest worry of the trip.  For days I have seen google traffic light up with red for extended stretches on the other side of Roanoke, sometimes for quite a ways.  It's a nondescript part of the state with not much in the way of population centers anywhere near.  My old girl at the counter tells me "oh yeah, that's bad, they're blastin' the mountains away on both sides and they start 'bout 8:30 quarter-a-9.  Lady in my church sat there in park for almost 2 hours on monday."  Thanks lady, it's 07:50 now, it's about 80 miles away, and you just mind fucked me.  This whole goddamn adventure may now come crashing down due to some Obama spending.  Whelp, nuttin' I can do about it now other than turn the key and get rockin down the highway.  I thank her politely as I return to my ride with thoughts of getting rock rained on my head from the blasts being more palatable than sitting there for 2 hours.  I was only 31.5 inches wide at the handlebars. Between he handguards and the polycarbonate coconut on my head, that should provide enough protection from the shrapnel right?  Maybe I can lane split and blast past the flagger in hopes the odds are in my favor.


To add insult to injury, the original plan was to do breakfast at this stop (time, not place).  I was 30 miles from Roanoke however which was a little closer than I had planned.  If I were to hit commuter traffic anywhere along the line, it was likely to be Roanoke and I was now in a pinch.  I decide to push on through Roanoke and hope the work force there is more 9-5 than 8-5.  Hopefully I can catch breakfast on the other side without too much damage to the clock. It is abundantly clear i need some recon for alternate routes around the blasting which won't screw me too badly.

"Breaker-breaker 1-9, this is Joel.  Scuba-Conscious, you got your ears on?"
"This is Scuba-Conscious, go-head"
"Rumor has it we're crawling with care bears up ahead.  I need you to send up phase 1 pronto"
"That's a negative ghostrider, the pattern is full."
"Don't give me that shit, just do it, or I'll make you listen to rap when we get home."
"Uh-uh-uh, yes sir, right away sir, please don't ever mention that again sir"

Buh-bye phase 3.  You were awesome, I hope to have you back soon.  Every man has a job to do, and for the next hour of my life, I'm gonna need a pro.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I am Iron Butt (Part 7)

I stare longingly at Mr Coffee in the soft fluorescent glow of my kitchen.  He is such a swell guy.  I am tired, Friday 8am class after a raging Schaefer multi-keg college party tired.   The mehican standoff lasts a moment or two.  I remember my readings in the scroll of the Iron Butt tribe and decide for once in my life to follow directions.  All those elementary school teachers were SO wrong on my report card when they said I couldn't.  Ha! How do you like me now Mrs Lipski???  Vitamins, OJ and golden grahams will be the entirety of the menu this morning.

I slink off to the freezer, much like my daughter when she is told no more iCarly. I fill my camelback with some ice for the trip since the scrolls also say regular water intake is critical.  If I am going to listen to them regarding my bff Juan Valdez, I may as well take the camelback.  It's 45 degrees so I went light on the ice then slid into my gear.  LD Comfort scivvys bought specifically for this adventure, followed up by the polarweight fleecy hunting thermal pants.  Long sleeve tshirt and thermal top round out the undergarments.  Cabelas hunting socks on the dogs, followed by Firstgear mesh pants with the comfy liner in and my trusty hiking boots.  Upper half gets a fleece, Speed & Strength jacket with the trash bag liner in and the neck gaiter to cover the gobbler.  Final touches include the gerbings gloves and a reflective hi-vis vest so they can find me in the ditch after my lack of coffee dt's force me off the road.  Montezuma's a wuss.  I am much more afraid of Valdez's Revenge.

Dog is confused as hell due to the hour.  Thank god for neighbors to take care of him today.  With a wave I am off and awkwardly mount my  waltzing Tiger in my Michelin man duds.  Back down the driveway and I am at the 24hr Wawa minutes later for my first receipt at 2:36am.  For those of you who are new to the saddlesore/Iron Butt rules, it is based off of gas receipts.  I now have until 2:36am tomorrow to get a receipt 1000 miles away, or in my case, back from a 524 mile each way jaunt into this realm of silliness.
My guess is if I fail it will be because I forget to get one of my receipts. "Sidestand down, unplug gloves, get a receipt"  becomes my mantra for the day. I get about 200 miles easily out of a tank of hi test so there will be at least 5 more opportunities to screw it up.

First 50 miles or so were at 55 which was a drag but expected. For those who have never ridden a tiger, you should. I love this bike but it has 2 weaknesses. Both will be an issue for this trip. First, the headlight sucks, even after the hid upgrade. Stock is equivalent to holding a dinner candle at speed to light your way. Fortunately the high beam is weak as well but not too bad and fine for highway riding without incurring the wrath of my compadres in the giant trucks. Secondly, the trip buttons to reset mileage were designed by a tween  girl who never wore a pair of motorcycle gloves. How a bike with this much attention to detail gets through engineering with those buttons is something I cannot begin comprehend.

The beginnings of any longish ride for me follow a fairly predictable pattern. I think its why I like to ride further than most.  Phase 1 sees my mental dial set on a spinal tap 11. I mentioned Phaedrus earlier and this mental slicing mentality is a constant presence in my life. It has made me somewhat successful in several different ventures both professional and personal so it isn't necessarily a bad thing. The constant buzz of ideas gets a little old sometimes, but it is like Elwood J Blues said when the train passes his room. It happens "so often you won't even notice it". My friends laugh at it because it makes me me. The din recedes on very few occasions. Those include whenever my princess is around, 3+ hr motorcycle rides, 3hr + bass fishing trips and occasionally while reading a fictional novel by writers like Tom Clancy.

Today is no different. As I roll through Harrisburg PA the flood grows stronger and is also par for the course. Phase 2.  Rerunning the route in my mind, playing out scenarios should I have a breakdown how it would be resolved. How will different mechanical gremlins present themselves in the early stages. These are the melodies playing over the harmonies of Penndot/government inefficiencies and funding, commercial vehicle inspection, the intricacies of customer satisfaction and engagement programs, what high school will be like for an adopted kid in 7 years, and god knows what else.  The melodies and harmonies run concurrently.  My only guess is that in a last ditch effort, my twisted neurons open all valves to full and start dumping in an effort to overload the system.  It doesn't work. Tiger trumps neuron.

By the PA-MD border things are quieting down inside the HJC. Welcome to the zone, we are glad to have you back. Phase 3 is why I ride. Here it is simply scanning for hazards ahead and to the sides.  That's it, nothing else. The symphony gives way to a one fingered solo of chopsticks. I LOVE IT.  I think this is why Buddhists always seem to have a smile.  They were smart enough to spend their life training to be in the zone.  It's like a titty bar for the mind.

Now that my mind is where I want it, I realize the temperature has dropped and I am getting cold. Hunters knows this thermocline event which occurs just before dawn well.  It always surprises me.  I guess I am not so bright.  I neglected to hook my gloves to the wires turtling out from my jacket.  No need to add stress so I hit the rest stop and electrify and I am back on the road in under 2 minutes. No harm no foul. 

Gas light on at 150miles. Silly computer doesn't know its ass from a hole in the ground. I know I can go maybe 75 more miles technically but usually concede to the orange light. Now to look for an easy on easy off a 4:45am in West Virginia. Falling Waters fit the bill 175 miles in.  I get my receipt, and take care of the biological fluid removal process. Things are going well and I am thrilled. I double check my receipt bag is stowed, the pelican box is locked tight and fumble with the trip reset buttons.

"Sir?  SIR!"

What the... Who's yelling sir so loud at 5am that I can hear through earplugs, a helmet and 1050cc's of the UK's finest?  I thought to ignore it at first and mind my own business, but put the bike back on sidestand and popped the lid on the helmet to see what the ruckus was about.  There was a 20 something girl with a lip ring and fake red hair walking in my general direction.

"Is this wallet yours?"

Epic fail.

You have got to be kidding me.  She went to clean the mens room after I left and it had fallen out of my jacket pocket which I thought was zipped. No matter how many times I F up, this trip seems destined for success. What's the chances that a gas station bathroom is cleaned more than once a day, and that a pierced 20 something graveyard shift worker at said gas station would find my wallet and return it to me,  inside a 3 minute window, with the $300 in tact?  I slipped her 20 for her efforts and kicked myself on down rt 81 south in the dark.

"Sidestand down, unplug gloves, get a receipt, check for your frickin wallet YFF"

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

I am Iron Butt (Part 6)


In all fairness, most, if not all work sucks, that's why we ride on two wheels and supplement our protein intake with bugs, ingested at 70mph like some entomological beer bong.  I happen to like my job for the most part, certainly more than most.  Before I got paid to do what I do, I did it for fun in the comforts of my own home.  To steal a line from "vermin", the "grocery spigot" part of work helps smooth out the rough spots of the day.

The salve of the grocery spigot wasn't working today.

Tonight/tomorrow I leave.  What is 2am anyway? (said in my best Seinfeld voice)  The day was spent tying up loose ends for tomorrows absence, scanning google maps traffic overlays for construction and being generally unproductive.  I rambled more than usual much to my co-workers chagrin, but they are good eggs.  I did get a bonus for my ramblings though when the owner offered to pay for my gas if I did one more thing before I left.  (Note to self: you still haven't filed that expense report dummy).  My indenture clock got punched early on that beautiful day.  What to do?  Riding the tiger seemed semi-foolish as it would add some wear and tear to a posterior I would desperately need to protect in a few hours.

I was tired, it was 3pm.  Allow me to turn back the hands of time 24 hours.  I hate when movies do that without telling me...  So it is now 36 hours before my departure time.  Since I am being honest, I have sleep issues.  I'm not an insomniac per-se, but I fairly regularly stare at the ceiling for no particular reason when the sun no longer allows me to bask in its' glow.  I did not inherit either of my grandfathers genes who were regular working men who woke up at 3am every day of their lives.  Nope, I got that chromosome flipped at birth.  Fortunately, I got did inherit their shiny headed hairline.  Wait, that's not good either. Anyway I can't fall asleep once a week or so.  This causes me to enjoy waking up late, every day.

I have a bit of Phaedrus in me.  I haven't finished the book as I type this, but so far at chapter 7, it fits.  I over-analyze.   My knife makes many sand piles then mixes them up to cut them up a different way.  It's a thing, so suck it.  So, in my utter brilliance, I decide to set the alarm for 4:30am instead of my normal 6:30 snooze-a-thon so I can get my day started.  This will do two things Phaedrus says.  1, I can get the pile of sand on my desk at work cut and filtered for my absence (it's 1 day for god's sake).  2.  More importantly, I will intentionally screw with my circadian rhythm, thus allowing me to sleep long and deep *tomorrow* when it really counts because I will have intentionally made myself tired.  (For those of you who are brain surgeon's, you just picked up on some foreshadowing right? )

So, I had a few Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye's while cleaning up the DVR and headed to bed.  Success.  What seemed like 2 minutes later the radio blared "She thinks my tractor's sexy" and it was off to the races.  Refreshed, bright eyed and bushy butt'ed, I scurried around and did my duties.

Fast forward 18 hours.  I'm frickin tired.  My friend Rick came over to verify my odometer for the witness form since start time was 0-dark-thirty.  We had a beer, but I had a plan to get to bed early and he wished me luck and bolted early.

Stupid Flyers lose to the stupid devils. No worries, we will take them in the playoffs, we are way better than them. (Ahem, pay attention, more foreshadowing)  The reason seems to be no apparent reason other than they sucked.  Both the post-game show and the post-game-post-game wrapup show seem to share my in depth analysis.  Yup, what I thought was utter brilliance in waking up early appears to have been the infiltration of Wile E. Coyote.  I am a frickin moron.  I can't sleep.  Last time I remember looking at the clock was around midnight.  My tractor is all sexy again 2 hours later.  WTF.  I perform the required 3 S's and into my gear I go.  Nothing I can do about it now...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bear Saddle

New saddle for bear finished today. Huge improvement in foam density. No more engine vibes in the balls from sitting on the pan after 15 minutes. Highly recommend. Moved the hump back 2 inches, new foam, new cover. $125. Money well spent.

Dude's name is Scott and he has an upholstery shop and does a fair bit of motorcycles he says, but wants to do more. Gave his name to JD's Cycles who was looking for a guy.

432 Lower Road, Souderton PA 18964.