July 22, 2012
Something Different Is Going on There
What is wrong with this picture that WS took one day while he was on the road for his job?
That bike on the right has 3 wheels - seems two are in the saddle bags. Pretty cool actually. The only reason WS noticed was because when the bike was stopped at a stop light, the rider didn't put his feet down.
July 21, 2012
You are welcome for this moment of tranquility and beauty.
Sean Powers Memorial Ride 2012
The Sean Powers Memorial ride was today, and we couldn't have asked for nicer weather. It was sunny, but not too hot. I actually rode with a light sweat shirt and then removed it when we got to our destination - after a ride of about 70 miles. Here are a bunch of the bikes before the start.
A Sean Powers garden has been started at the middle school. We gave a contribution for that (in addition to the ride cost). They have a really nice bench set up:
We had police escorts, which makes for a more organized (and safer) ride. They stop traffic at crossroads and lead us to our final destination.
And, without further ado, a few pics from the end of the ride.
July 15, 2012
UPDATE: Sean Powers Memorial Ride 2012 Announcement
Just a reminder - and a note that this will stay at the top of the blog until after the ride next week. For all local (and not so local) bikers: The Sean Powers Memorial Ride is scheduled for July 21, 2012. It starts at the Hillsboro-Deerring Middle School and ends at the Hopkinton Middle School. Lunch will be provided at the end of the ride (included in registration fee).
Early Registration Fee is $20 for drivers and $10 for passengers. If you register the morning of the event, it is $25 for the Driver and $15 for passengers. Non-perishables are also being collected for the local food pantries.
Departure time is 10 AM. See the flyer and registration form for contact info and more info.
On my vest, there is a patch of the United States (and a bit of Canada). Up until our trip to Indiana, I have only been able to color in 5 states; Maine, NH, MA, Vermont and NY. The patch almost looked like it was bare.
That is how many miles we road in 6 days. Technically, we rode those miles in 4.5 days as from 6 PM Friday until noon on Sunday, the bikes didn’t move an inch.
We left early Thursday morning and took Rt 9 thru NH and Vermont. In NY we picked up Rt 7 – a big mistake. Nice road and all, but slow, slow, slow. After a couple hours on that road, we had made very little progress so we hopped onto US 88 which took us to Pennsylvania. There we got on Rt 6. Another mistake. Although faster than Rt 7 had been, it was still slow and we needed to pick up the pace. So, we did what we were hoping to avoid and hit the big highway and took that to Du Bois, PA where we spent the night. The next morning we hit the highway and rode all the way to Sturgis. The whole ride was hot, hot, hot. I later heard on the news (at 7 PM) it was 100 at that time – so we were probably riding in 105 or so. We stopped a couple of times and I grabbed two drinks at each stop; one water and one slushy-type drink, and drank them simultaneously. At the second stop before Sturgis*, we stayed in the convenience store for about 20 minutes. It wasn’t all that cool in there, but better than outside. I finally got smart and went to the restroom, washed off all the sunscreen (which was keeping me from sweating very well) and ran cold water over my wrists, fore arms and inside the elbows. That cooled me down pretty well. Then we went to the Sturgis* Harley dealer about 2 miles from the convenience store and browsed for about 20 minutes. I now have a shirt from Sturgis*. When we left the Harley dealer, we turned back south and headed for our destination of North Manchester, IN (just south and west of Fort Wayne.
We had a great visit with Heather and Harry. They kicked one of the kids out of her room so we had a place to sleep (poor girl had to room with her sister). Saturday night, WS got to looking at a map of the states and decided that just adding PA, OH, MI and IN to my repertoire wasn’t enough; he was trying to figure out how to get some more southerly states into the mix. After explaining the route he was contemplating, it was determined that we needed about 6 more hours of ride time to be able to do it. So, we decided to get out of Harry and Heather’s hair early and leave noon Sunday instead of Monday morning.
H&H made us a great send-off breakfast (almost brunch) of biscuits and gravy with French toast after which we packed up and got on our way. Everything was great until somewhere in KY, where we ran into a storm. We could see it coming our way, but it was hard to tell if we were going to hit it as the direction of the road changed constantly. However, once the temp dropped about 20 degrees, and a few drops of rain fell, we stopped and put on our rain gear. We got back on the highway and the rain got progressively worse. It began pouring so hard that traffic slowed to 30-35 MPH and everyone turned on their emergency flashers. Then the wind started. After a while (with the rain still pouring and speed still at 30-35), the wind made it almost impossible to stay in one lane. Behind tree screens, we would regain control and get to the right side of the lane. Wherever the tree screen broke, we would be blown all the way to the center line even though we were prepared and leaning into it. We finally found an off ramp and followed it to an underpass. We were not the first there, just the driest. Two bikers were there without any gear at all. The wind howled and the rain continued to come down in sheets. Even cars were seeking shelter. Then, the wind shifted and came from the opposite direction. WS and I agreed that if we heard a train, it would be time to panic.
Fortunately, we never heard a train (tornado) and the wind and rain eventually died down enough for us to get back on our way. WS walked out from the underpass and found that there were train tracks about 50 yards behind our position. We would have freaked if a train had passed at that time! We had holed up for about 40 minutes but the rest of the trip to Lexington was uneventful.
After a good night’s sleep, it was back on the highway to go thru several more states; Tennessee (thru Knoxville), Virginia (thru Roanoke and Winchester – the Shenandoah Valley is very pretty!), and West Virginia before stopping for the night. We had hoped to spend the night in southern Pennsylvania, but a traffic jam that cost us an hour, then a stop to don rain suits, made that impractical. The last leg of the journey on Tuesday was a long one thru a bit of Maryland, thru Pennsylvania, then New York (on the Taconic), Massachusetts and Vermont before winding up home shortly after 8 PM.
The dogs and cats were happy to see us (and we, to see them). The neighbor kids had done a bang up job of taking care of both the animals and plant life, vegetable garden and potted plant, while we were gone (it doesn’t hurt that we pay them well). Wednesday we recovered from our whirlwind tour, doing laundry, putting things away, washing and waxing my bike (WS had waxed his the day before we left).
*Sturgis - the one in Michigan, not the one in South Dakota.
Our trip to/from Indiana was generally smooth. The bikes ran great, even in the hot weather (the bikes are air cooled, not radiator cooled). We didn’t forget anything at home that we had to have. Nor did we leave anything at any of our stops.
That is not to say there were no hiccups. I neglected to bring my Walkman charge cord, so by the second day it had died. I put my phone to work in its place, using the IHeartRadio app, The app had a few issues at times, but was working okay. Then I hit the thing with my hand and I saw parts fly. We were going 70-75 MPH down the highway, so I figured I had just lost my phone. But then I still heard music, the same music that had been playing before I saw parts fly. I finally located my phone hanging in front of my tank; hanging by the auxiliary cord. The case I had for my phone had broken and those were the parts I saw flying. I was able to secure the phone in my windshield bag after rotating my glasses to a pouch behind me.
Once in Indiana, I was able to get a new case, but I couldn’t get one with the belt holster, and it is slick in the hand, but it will do for now.
Harry came up with a charging cord for my Walkman, so I charged it while there (actually took the cord home with me to keep it charge). However, the Walkman decided that it didn’t like the big rain storms we hit on the way to Lexington, and quit working. Well, “quit” isn’t quite the word. It actually started playing everything in fast forward. Ah well, I turned to the radio and found that the mountains (hills) kept most stations from coming in for very long. That was okay, there was plenty of traffic and scenery to occupy my mind. The next day, the Walkman started working fine. Then it started pausing itself randomly. After an hour of that, I turned it off. At the next stop, I blew in the two speakers at the back of the Walkman to dislodge / dry out any remaining moisture, and it worked fine the rest of the way home (there is a joke about blow jobs in there – you can figure it out).
All in all, just minor irritants.
Observations from Indiana Trip
When we got into Pennsylvania there were two immediate observations:
- That state (and every state south of PA) is the land of bikers who wave to everyone – even across 6 lanes of traffic and a 90’ wide grass median. I have enough to do trying to pay attention to traffic around me, I sure don’t have time to look at what is going on way over there if it isn’t going to impact me. So, every biker we passed going the opposite direction on the highway thought I was a snob. That trend lasted in the southern states, but I didn’t notice it in Indiana or Michigan.
- If there are two bikes together, the one behind is in the greater danger from drivers merging onto the highway or changing lanes. They would hear the bikes, see WS go by (or wait for him to go by), and never look or check their mirrors for another bike (I know, because I was watching them thru the side windows). Several times, if I hadn’t anticipated it, I would have been run over/into. Sometimes I was able to move to the next lane. Sometimes I could slow down quickly, while avoiding getting run over from behind. One of those times the guy driving car that tried to run me over looked in his rear-view mirror and give me an apologetic wave. One time, I had no room to swerve into another lane and no time to slow down, so I twisted the throttle and squeezed the bike between the car’s bumper coming at me and the side of the car beside me. I literally made it thru by inches. It’s not like I was far behind WS either, so it's not like the driver's thought they could squeeze between us - they flat did not look once they saw WS go by. Fortunately I am always anticipating and watching other drives because I assume I am invisible (despite the 3 lights and liberal use of the horn when needed) and figure that everyone is out to kill me when I am on the bike. Okay, not all near misses happened in PA, but the first several were and the trend seemed to start there. I also had issues in the southern states – but not NY, MA, VT or NH. Probably doesn’t mean anything, just my experience this one trip.
PA, where the bikers are overly friendly, and the drivers are not.
July 08, 2012
We are Good
Made it to North Manchester, Indiana okay on Friday. Changed plans and left half a day early to head south. Now in Lexington, KY for the night. Went thru major storm to get here. Had to stop at an underpass for a while. The pouring rain was one thing. The 50-60 mph wind that blew us from lane to lane was the dangerous part.
Will try to go thru TN, WV and VI before heading back to PA, and then back home. The motorcycles have performed flawlessly (knock on wood).
Just wanted to let all know that we are okay.