Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sitting and Thinking...

Sitting and thinking too long
has only one result


--Coming up -- Another day of my trip--

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Motorcycling & Life: A Thought

Life at times is like riding a motorcycle on a snowy road:

Stay focused;

Take breaks;

Keep warm;

Ride slow and steady;

Don't worry if your plan
doesn't come together;

And mind the idiots!

Friday, January 23, 2009

My Cross Country Log - Day 6 & 7

Day 6 was little more than wonderful relaxation with family. Al (my Mom's husband) and myself went to visit my sister in Fruitland, Iowa. After that we made our way back to New Boston, IL where other family members were gathering for a night of card playing, coffee drinking and general good times.

Day 7 was early again. After seeing my Mom off to work, Al and I tightened the chain on my bike and waited for the Illinois fog to lift. At about 9:30 AM, kick stand was up, and I was off.
Ready to leave my Mom's
Thursday night - New Boston, Illinois to New Castle, Indiana

This was a hard ride. I had hoped to get to Dayton but did not. I left too late ~9:30 AM - Had to ride ~480 miles to get there. I only stopped for gas and brief rest stops.

Not sure why I couldn't make it.

Well, got lost in Indianapolis; took I74 out of town but after 20 minutes discovered I was heading toward Cincinnati, not Dayton. So, I had to backtrack to get back on I70.

Found a hotel that advertised $29.95 per night but there was an 'event' so it was $45. The hotel ckeck-in person suggested I continue down I70 to find someplace cheaper - no luck. I did find a hotel that was $45 per night. Had no choice. I was spent.

Last night I had an odd dream, more animals but they were friendly and nice. Normally dreams are all monochrome but one animal, a bird about the size of an Amazon was brilliant red with a few blue feathers. He played rough with me. He would use his beak and play-bite my fingers. It was fun and warm, care free and fun and enjoyable.

Tired - four beers.

"The stopped clock is correct twice a day, but a clock not properly set is never right."

There were several things I wanted to do today but didn't.

I wanted to stop by the ballpark but couldn't. (This is a long story of a young boy, his grandfather and a simple request that through a country ballpark changed a community. Perhaps I will write of this later.)

I wanted to stop by the farm (where I grew up) but did not.

I wanted a photo by the river (Mississippi) but did not.

I wanted to ride through Eliza (Eliza, Illinois was the closest town to the farm) but did not.

I rode why?????????????????

Dinner in Indiana

This was a hard day emotionally as well. Reading my notebook entry pulls forth memories of a rather depressing ride.

Bye Bye Flight Sim?

Is Microsoft's iconic Flight Simulator entering a nose down spin?

These hard economic times are taking severe tolls on every aspect of the economy, including gaming. MS FlightSim, a program that has been around for more than a decade may now be a dead end product. Microsoft's 5,000 employee layoff announcement includes all Flight Sim developers. (See article here)

It would be a pity if this valuable, and some would argue historic piece of software were chopped from Microsoft's product line permanently. It has been the impetus behind many people training for and receiving their pilot's license. Back in the 1990's I used it to learn how to navigate via VORTAC signals.

One can only hope FlightSim was just put in a holding pattern.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thoughts on Adventuring...

A part time adventurer will stand at the summit of a mountain, point in a direction and say, "I live over there."

A full time adventurer will be on that same summit, point in a direction and say, "I don't know what the hell is this in this direction. Let's go!"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Heading to Mexico!

Within the next four hours my rear-end should be on a plane to Mexico. Alas, it is not for pleasure; there will be no motorcycle riding in the Baja or flying an ultralight over the eastern Mexico forests. It is for work.

Posts here and other digital communications can't be guaranteed. So... ride, fly and be safe everyone! Should be back in a week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Cross Country Log - Day 5

Today was without a doubt, the most moving day of the trip. Four hundred fifty miles, five states and memories of times long forgotten, welcomed to the surface of my consciousness. I was going home.

There is no log for this day for two reasons. One reason is that I was physically drained and likely hypothermic when I put the kickstand down for the day. The other reason is that I was home, drinking up the comfort and love that only a family can give. My Mom and her husband welcomed me in with hugs, a much welcomed steaming cup of coffee and a late dinner.

So, I will use the entry I posted at as a proxy for my written log. I hope you enjoy it!
I woke up bright and early at about 5 and was showered, packed, checked out and on the road by 7. After about thirty miles, just before Nebraska, I decide to pull over for gas and fresh beef jerky. It was a tad bit chilly but overall a beautiful riding day.
The typical urban rider doesn't normally see a tractor at a gas station!

At this point my camera really starts malfunctioning in a bad way. It would take pictures and report all was OK. After getting to my Mom's place that evening, I discovered that about 2/3 of all of the pictures were corrupt.

Anyway, I stopped at a little place in Nebraska for some warm coffee. It said coffee but I honestly believe someone boiled a gallon of water with a single coffee bean and poured it into the decanter. HORRID!!!

But the conversation was good. I had a chat with an older fellow outside who told me of the time he and his wife rode their GoldWing to Vegas. I always enjoy those little chats.

And, I was on the road again, this time to a little corner of Missouri. Finally a picture!
After crossing what I believe was the Missouri river, the road led up a little bluff to a great string of windmills. This wasn't the first wind farm I have seen, but the first one I have been this close to.

After pausing for that, I was on the road to South Western Iowa. For the first time on my ride I actually got to see live deer just before the Iowa line. DANG CAMERA!!!
Here's my bike in Shenendoah, Iowa. It is a great little town.

After fueling up and getting some real coffee, I headed east on Iowa Route 2. That is for the most part a nice concrete road. Unfortunately, it is somewhat old and the slabs of the highway settled unevenly. So, I rode along, 'ka-chunk... ka-chunk... ka-chunk...' for about three hours.

To make up for the road, the little towns were gorgeous! I wanted to stop at each one and just ride around, looking at the old buildings. BUT, I knew this would be a long day so I didn't have many stops.

The stops I did make, I really enjoyed!
Here is a wheat thresher I found just outside of a small town.
And right next to it, a real steam engine! I LOVED it!!! Think it is a little larger than my bike???

And I was back on the road with a destination in mind. One that holds great child hood memories. Heck, I even remember making out with my high school girlfriend there. This is a special place in my heart.

As I pull into Mt. Pleasant, Iowa the roads immediately become familiar. Tears came to my eyes, and it wasn't from wind or chemicals or smoke. This is a great place for me. For many it is just a museum, but for me, it is a vital piece of my childhood.

Midwest Old Threshers Museum This is one of those places and times where words are difficult to come by.

I rode around the grounds a bit even though they were closed and hit the road for Burlington, IA. Getting there I take some pictures of the Mississippi River before I crossed. It was magnificent with the sun going down behind me. (darned camera)

I was on the home stretch. Only another 75 miles or so and I would be at my Mom's doorstep. Fate had a little twist just waiting for me.

I knew this road like the back of my hand and I hadn't been here for nearly 20 years. I was riding on cloud nine, humming along, looking at the flooded farmland along the road in the twilight. I come to my turn and make a left.

I stop.


Ok, so I head back and find the detour signs. Following them led me into some great riding areas but it was getting COLD!!! Ahead in the town of Biggsville, Illinois, the detour signs point left. Forward was Monmouth, Illinois. If I went forward I knew the way 100% but would add about 50 miles. I was cold and my butt hurt. So I took the detour.

The remainder of the ride to my Mom's place is a complete story in itself. Maybe I will tell it later. Suffice it to say, after riding this unfamiliar road with no overhead lights, no traffic, no more detour signs and curves with little notice for what seemed like an hour in the cold dark, I arrived shivering and exhausted at my Mom's.

I honestly should have stayed in Burlington. It would have been much safer. BUT, I made nearly 450 miles that day.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

My Cross Country Log - Day 4

This is a day I will not soon forget. The riding was simple but the first several hours were fraught with concerns over my engine. This was the day I should have, according to the folks at the Honda Warranty Department, sought a Honda dealership for advice. I didn't. The symptom was minor but the ailment was major. That is why my bike is, as of this moment, sitting in my back yard waiting for me to have a few solid days to work on her.

This is not a happy issue, and one that I will not delve into much more in this log. Suffice it to say that when this problem first exhibited its symptoms, the bike was under warranty. When I discovered the true nature of the illness, stripped threads in the engine casing, it was no longer under warranty. Thus, Honda's rejection to cover the problem, even though I did take it to the nearest mechanic for advice.

Anyway... Onward to day four...
Breaking camp in St. Francis, Kansas.

St. Francis, Kansas to Salina, Kansas
Found my first bike shop on Route 36. Bought Yamalube semi-synth 10W 50 and a small bottle of Bell-Ray chain lube.

I immediately doused my chain & was gone. At my first stop I found dirty oil on the top of the crank case and on a large portion of the underneath of the engine.

I had coffee and a few smokes, let the engine cool off and changed the oil. I wiped down the engine, noticing where the oil had collected.

I was careful to not push the motor, rarely going over 55 MPH. Making no unnecessary stops, every 30 miles or so I would stop and investigate the motor.

While in Belleville, Kansas I ask a Harley rider if he knew of a shop. He said, "follow me."

I followed to a garage bike shop. NCK Motorcycle & ATV Repairs. He raised up the bike and inspected it. Nothing.

We left it there for nearly 45 minutes. Still nothing.

Analysis? I normally use a chain lube that leaves a white film or residue. This type is different. It lubricates differently. So; problem one - I put on far too much.

Problem two - The wind was blowing quite a bit when I put the lube on, and some of it blew onto the top of the crankcase.

The chain looked wet, some of it, the extra lube, was slung around the drive gear running under the engine.

I paid him $10 for his time and he gave me a key chain & kick-stand pad. THANKS! COOL!

That was SO freeing! I pushed the engine as much as possible for the next 30 miles, thinking that if the engine was going to do something bad, I would rather it happen near a known mechanic.

75 - 80 MPH up and down hills - No Problem!

While sleeping outside last night, I had an odd dream of unknown rabid dogs and kittens in my house in Iowa. (in 1995 I owned a beautiful old house in Cresco, Iowa) Woke at about 5:30 and promptly built a fire! Warmth!!!

While riding today, for some reason I wanted human contact. There was some unknown desire to find a bar, just have a beer or two and talk with a woman or two. Maybe wake with a warm body next to me. Alas, no bars nearby. Don't need it anyway.

(Just FYI, I AM single, so there were no thoughts of infidelity. I enjoy being alone and eschew going to bars and other social gatherings. These strange thoughts were just out of place. There are some other notes in my log that are purposely omitted here. Maybe some day I will post those, but for now they shall remain in my notebook. Needless to say, I was quite happy to wake up alone the next morning.)