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Saturday, May 31, 2008

View from today's ride

Just a small sample, videos later, including Deal's Gap.

Back at the Ranch

Riding day 2 is done, and we're all back at the lodge except Matt & Chris who need to fly on business trips Sunday so they split off from us on the road. Great rides today! All are a little tired as the weather was hot. Matt, enjoy Paris! (pic from this a.m.)

Break @ Cherahola Market

Mr. Bear update

Forgot to mention Bear is riding at Benjamin's request, last night on phone Ben told Matt the Bear should ride. Hard to deny a 5 yr. old a simple wish.

Mr. Bear takes a ride

Watch for the top of the fuzzy head in upcoming videos. He's safely seat-belted on top of the tank bag. He doesn't need a helmet; soft head.

Good Eats

A HUGE thanks to Jean Newman (Bob's wife) who came along to cook for us! And she's a nurse besides- which we hope not to need. The food was far more fit for consumption than the mealtime conversation.

Map of the Gap

Here's a free map of Deal's Gap I got at Fontana Dam (TVA) yesterday. I'll rotate it later, Palm doesn't have enough RAM right now.

Day 2 Begins

Hi All- Thanks again for the comments etc. Yesterday was an absolute blast and we got in some hot miles and caught some great video of it. I'll post some video once I've got high bandwidth again. We ran Deal's Gap (similar to CA mtn. riding) and also Blue Ridge Mtn. Parkway. The Parkway was different from anything I've ridden before, absolutely amazing. Posting more soon!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Greetings from Bucksnort, TN

(sent late from roadside stop after Deal's Gap on Friday)
Thursday about 12:30 pm:
After a late start due to a couple errands, finally on the final leg in. Tennessee is clean, lush green and humid, and the people here are friendly. The bike is back to above 40 mpg and I should be in Townsend by late afternoon.

Periscope Up

Yes there will be movies.

Wakey wakey!

Morning coffee and prepping for the day's ride

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Ripe Rider Arrives!

Longest distance, first to get to cabin. This is seriously nice digs! Maybe I can do some laundry b4 the rest get here so I don't have to eat on the porch.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Time Shift

(unsent from back in Flagstaff Tu morn)
Wow the sun comes up early here. I forgot that every day I ride east I'll have to wake up earlier & sleep earlier, especially so I make good use of daylight for riding.

Arkansas, current winner of "100 mph bug" contest


From Ft. Smith, OK. I've got 373 mi to go for tonight's stop, Jackson TN. Oklahoma is far more humid than TX, or of course any of the previous states. I should have done some laundry then. Stuff didn't dry in my room last night, hence the clothesline above. Almost 2 pm and socks still wet. At least the damp shirt I put on this a.m. kept me a little cooler (tnx for tip, Matt). This reminds me of MN summers. The roadside scenery is like MN too. Green and forested rolling hills, but all deciduous trees and no pine or birch, but a kind of tree we don't have in MN, the Oil Tree. In Western OK I saw several of them pumping away in the woods.
Lots more to say but must make tracks while the sun shines.

Ghost Towns

Thanks for all of you reading and commenting on the blog. I've barely had time to read! Now E of Oklahama City @ gas station, thinking to catch up on my writing. Arizona was nice yesterday although cool and speed plus altitude took a toll on fuel mileage. As I descended into the "Land of Enchantment" I saw more and more abandoned buildings and even towns (unthinkable in a Bay Area realty perspective) and junked vehicles from the freeway. Maybe it's just the 40 corridor. Texas was cleaner but kind of stark in a Teutonic way. After my sundown headlight change in Amarillo, I headed out with half a tank into the dark. I was having second thoughts about this about 70 miles and a couple closed gas stations later, after 10 pm. Low fuel light was on and I had too many miles to go to Elk City. I was praying for a gas station soon. The third gas exit I tried was also closed. No-one was there, the station lights were out and there was a rusty tanker trunk parked nearby. It was dark, windy and kind of reminded me of the ghost story scene in the movie Cars...but the pumps were on! I tried my card, and thankfully it worked. While fueling I made a quick goodnight call back to Shaleah and the kids, then hit the road. Wouldn't you know it, there was a well-lit Chevron station open, like a beacon on the hill, just 10 miles later. I spooked myself over nothing. I need to change that habit. More 'articles' kicking around in my head to come soon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Amarillo Sundown

Had to replace left low-beam in parking lot...9 pm local? How did that happen? One or two hours to Elk City & sleep!

Desert Crossing

Safe in Flagstaff, need to sleep soon! Highlights today: chatted with a local in Needdles, CA who works for District Atty. Office. They get a lot of rowdy tourists at Lake Havasu, so they say "Come on vacation, Leave on probation". Sunset in open desert around 8pm, bike down to 35 mpg with cold climb into Flagstaff, hot grips on high & thick gloves. I don't like being on open road so late, especially with deer crossing signs, then "WATCH OUT FOR ELK", as if the deer weren't big enough. Didn't see any though.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bear hits Route 66

Father's Day Bear is on the road w/me, the yellow puppets (in more ways than one) stayed home.

CA Cattle Country

Sorry William, no matches. Close enough?


Late start, but nice morning w/kids & Shaleah, plus a breakfast probably better than anything I'll get at least til TN.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Route

View Larger Map

Day 1: Alameda 94501 to Flagstaff?
Day 2: plan to visit Uncle & Aunt in Santa Fe, then finish somewhere between Amarillo & OK City.
Day 3: OK City to somewhere near Memphis.
Day 4: On into Townsend and meet up with the gang. You know, maybe I will have time to see Lynchburg.

Sunday: leave cabin, haul tail home so's I don't borrow as much vacation time! Many projects await.

Packing- no ugly tail trunk.

Bad Timing

I wish this wasn't happening: since last Sunday (working at Farmer's Market) my left low back has been bothering me with a dull ache. I was thinking maybe I just overworked the muscles, but it hasn't gotten better. The side pain has made me reconsider taking the trip, but I don't want to p*** out over nothing. I saw the doc Wednesday and again today, hoping for answers that will make me more comfortable with being on the MC away from home for 10 days. Hmmm....inconclusive results. Muscle pain? Diverticulitis? Probably ok, bringing various meds along just in case.
I had a nice conversation with the nurse, doc and another patient who were admiring my riding gear. They liked the "DO NOT REMOVE HELMET" and "EMERGENCY INFO IN LEFT CHEST POCKET" labels. We were discussing folks who ride wearing novelty helmets; that is thin helmets with no EPS foam layer. Even those are probably better than the common practice in southeast Asia of loading the entire family onto the scooter with no protective gear at all. I guess we're all a bunch of chickens here in the states.
It's all about risk management. That's why I'm checking in with the doctor before my trip and why I wear all this stuff. It doesn't make the ride less fun to prepare for the risks. I hate the idea of being stuck a thousand miles out from home or TN and being incapacitated. It's all a crapshoot really. I just want to better my odds.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Preferential MC parking @ AB

Don't take up a car space when you don't have to. Also prevents bike smunching by soccer mom minivans.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

TreoStich- Comms for the trip

This is how I make my commute more enjoyable. 'Helmet Time' is my time to unwind and catch up with my news. My old Treo 650 will be loaded with podcasts and rigged for mobile data on the trip. Yes, I can make (speed-dial) and answer phone calls en route. Feel free to call or text if you have my cell number. Here's what I'm listening to: The Cell Phone Junkie, AMA Edgewise, Bytesize Science, The Commonwealth Club Radio Program, BBC Digital Planet, the I, Cringely column, KQED's QUEST Science Radio Podcast, various NPR programs, and a few PRI programs as well. I can also get internet radio via the Pocket Tunes program, at least where the phone has data coverage.

Why am I riding from CA to TN round trip in about 10 days?

Good question. To hang with the ABioBikers pack in Deals Gap, get away from home for a while, and something else. Please refer to the Lightweight Tourers Comparison from Jun. 15, 1996. Yes this is old. In 1994 I drove my '86 Concours from Monterey, CA to San Angelo, TX and a few months later to St. Paul, MN. I really enjoyed being alone with the road for days on end. In 2001 I picked up a BMW R1100RT in Breckenridge, CO and drove it home to CA over Thanksgiving weekend. I froze my butt off but it was a good trip. My '01 ST1100 is the third of the set. I really like the bike but I've never had it out of the state. Is this a good enough reason to spend the money and vacation time to travel 5,000 miles? I don't know. It doesn't really matter. That's the plan.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Test Posting from Treo Versamail

Hi from home! Finally figuring out I may not need moblog or hblogger software, at least not for MotorDad blog, maybe for ABioBikers. Expect to see more of this character on the road. I ordered one for the trip and one for my 5 yr old.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hi All-

If you're reading this you're probably either family or a motorcycling colleague. I'm primarily setting up this blog to track my trip from Alameda, CA to Townsend, TN and back. I plan to leave on 26 May and return around 4-5 June 08. I'll be posting from the road via my cell phone. First I have to get the tech working though... on to that now.