Friday, April 20, 2012

I Got My Bike Blessed and Then This Happened

What can I say about today except that it was close to perfect.  The weather was cool enough that I wanted some layers but not so cool that I was uncomfortable.  We checked the radar this morning and saw that bad weather was coming in from the North so we swapped our routes and rode tomorrow's ride today.  We went South so we missed the storms.  We had a little rain this morning first thing but then it was done.  I got to play with half a dozen water crossings today and the rig did fantastic.  I also got to bounce through rocks and the rig again did fantastic.  My shoulders are killing me right now but the rig did great.  I concentrated on maintaining  speed today and I'm very pleased with myself.  I ran a fairly steady speed of between 25-35 miles an hour over just about all the terrain I encountered.  We didn't see any deer and no animals tried to kill themselves in front of my bike.  My bike did not break down and the sun was not glaring down on my helmet.

Yep, this was a perfect day.

For me at least.  Two friends of ours did not check the radar so they went north.  And got rain.  And hail.  And cold.  One of their bikes did break down and while she managed to limp it into to parking lot, she couldn't get it started again.  Two wonderful guys from the CMA (Christian Motorcycle Association) came over and performed parking lot surgery.  Apparently the main jet on her carb fell out.  I have never seen a parking lot of grown men turn so pale so fast and then look at the bike and yell "are you kidding me?"  Nope, jet fell out.  I was never screwed in apparently.  After that was fixed, the bike started just fine.  Go fig

Mr Man got plenty of video today so I'm sure than when he has it processed, I'll be posting the You Tube link.  Now for some rest so I can do it again tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dear Jesus, Please Don't Run Me off the Road Anymore

Today as I was riding to Junction with Mr Man in my sidecar I saw a billboard.  I can't remember the quote exactly but it was basically "I love you and I'll make sure you have everything you need .  I love you, Jesus".  Wow, I thought, I like that.  It's simple and sweet and not too preachy.  I smiled to myself and felt a moment of peace like Jesus was really smiling on me.  Then I looked at the road and saw that the car in front of me was stopped so they could turn.  "Jesus Christ!" I thought to myself, "Could you maybe not run me off the road with your message of love.  Love, Me."  I may be going to hell a little for that one.

So yes, Junction, TX.  Here we are.  I'm surrounded by overweight older men on BMWs and sprightly older men on KTMs.  Some have their wives driving their support trucks.  Their wives are wearing make up.  I am not and I have my husband navigating for me in my sidecar.  I feel a little like a fish out of water, and a little bit like I'm right where I belong.  The dual sport community is decidedly white and male.  However, they share my gimlet eyed mistrust of the valve cover scraping turns that Mr Man loves so very much.  We spent the day hanging out in the parking lot looking at bikes.  Mine got a lot of attention.  At least until the second sidecar showed up, she had a dog.  That makes her considerably cooler than I am.  I'm OK with that, I don't have to be the cool one.  I have run into a bit of sidecar prejudice.  I've had a few guys absolutely not believe that I could ride off road with the sidecar.  Again, fine with me.  I don't require their acceptance.  I'm just here to ride.  I'll prove the doubters wrong by out riding their asses across the James River.  After all, I have everything I need.  Jesus said so right before he ran me off the road.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Getting Dirty

It's the night before the Texas Adventure Ride.  We are packing up the last little things and I am testing out posting with my little tablet.  I've been thinking about Dirt and why I love if so much.

Let's all get something clear, I'm very new to dirt.  This is my second big ride involving dirt but I know I love it.  I loved it from the first time I nudged my tire onto something that wasn't concrete.  There is something....primal about off road riding.  Something Zen that invites you to exist inside the flow of life and yet demands that you have control of your bike.  Not too much control though, too much will land you on your butt in the dirt.  You must let the handle bars be easy under your hands and accept the fact that the mild fish tail you are feeling is perfectly normal.

None of my riding friends are dual-sport riders.  That makes me a little sad sometimes but it's ok.  It's scary, it's not for everyone I get it.  Then again, I think twisties on concrete is terrifying and yet I find myself on them quite a bit.  Mr Man and I were talking about dirt and how much it terrifies him.  I know there are risks to adventure riding but they are risks that make me happy.  Just like his risks make him happy.  That's the trick I think, to mesh your risks with your joys.  I love the soft organic feel of dirt, the gritty roughness of gravel.  I love the unknowable destination I sense every time I see a dirt road; this almost overwhelming urge to know, "What's down that way?"  It overcomes my fears, my stress, my everything.  Just let me point my front tire down a dusty road I've never been and let me answer the great question of "where does this go?"

I always hope the answer is "Nowhere"

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Like a Boy Scout

When I first started this blog, I intended it to be a travel blog.  Unfortunately since I don't travel all the time, it doesn't get updated as much as I would like.  So I think I'm changing my idea of this blog into a blog about motorcycles and traveling in general.  I'm really going to try to update it more often.  Since I don't deal well with absolutes, I hesitate to give myself a deadline but once a week would be awesome....although probably ambitious.

As I type, we are getting ready for a trip out to Junction, TX to the Texas Adventure Ride (or TAR).  Mr Man is currently walking around the house muttering "ok....ok" while he gathers up electronics to be charged, bagged, and packed.  I am doing laundry (ok so my washer and dryer or doing the laundry but I helped by putting in clothes and adding detergent.)  Yesterday we changed out brake pads and tires and sat at Ihop and routed on paper maps and computers.  All of this drives home to me one of the reasons that Mr Man and I work so well together and that our marriage works so well: We both believe in the mantra "Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance."

Sometimes it looks like we have no plan.  I've watched Mr Man get on his bike and take off with no destination.  That's not the same as not planning.  Planning doesn't always involve Lists and spreadsheet and color coordinated maps.  Planning just involves a Plan.  Our last trip involved a Plan that went as follows:  we will get on our bikes and go traveling in a Northeast direction.  We want to ride around 250 miles a day with some pretty scenery.  We would like some opportunity to get of the bikes and get some pictures but that is not the focus of the trip.  We would like a burn day when we need one of if the town presents something of interest we both want to explore.  We would like to be back home with two days to recover before going back to work.  Added to that plan was the knowledge that my bike was the limiting factor for gas stops (I comfortably only have 150 miles on a tank) and that our bikes were equally matched in power but his had more speed around the corners.  That was the Plan.  It was enough for that trip.

Planning is, at heart, an understanding of expectations.  For our last trip that ended the planning.  In July, I am going to Colorado for my first two week solo trip.  For that trip expectations are only the beginning.  For our TAR trip some parts are list intensive some are not.  I'm spending no time on a packing list.  It should be simple and I've done this enough that I don't need to think about it.  I do, however have to do Laundry.  I did spend a little time on the list of things the bike needs.  It works out well because it marks items off of my to do list for Colorado.  I now have containers for extra fuel mounted and know how I want to proceed with that for the even more fuel I'll want in Colorado.  I have an air compressor for my ties and a tire repair kit.  Usually we pack and load the bike early enough so that we can look at what we've done and then unload and repack and reload....twice.  This time, Mr Man is riding in the tub as my Monkey so there is only one way the bike can be loaded....mark loading the bike early off of the list of things to do.

Now the Routing, that's serious for this trip.  We've looked at google maps to get us to Junction.  Then we've copied maps out of our Mapsco and highlighted out possible off road routes for the weekend.  This morning Mr Man took the copies and had them laminated so that if they got wet (in a water crossing perhaps) we could still use them.  Last night we took the off road routes and made the GPX files to be imported into my Garmin.  My head hurts from the routing.

And that is the sound of the dryer.  My next blog will be from TAR!  BTW, if you want to know, you can find TAR Info here

Texas Adventure Ride