Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vacation: Part 1

Brad met me at my house on Friday morning, and we rode over to Kaladi Brothers for a little pre-trip coffee. We sat for a bit, and had some Joe, then took off. The plan was for Brad to ride to Kiowa with me, where we would have breakfast and then he would turn back asI travelled on.

We got to Kiowa early enough that Brad figured he had plenty of time to continue on to Limon for the Truck Stop Breakfast. We blasted on down Highway 86 to I-70, then to the big truckstop. Greasy eggs, bacon and toast went down well (as always), and then we filled up with gas. Brad headed west to Denver, planning on following the Interstate back to town, as I headed east toward Tennessee.

It was nice to have a bit of a ride-out. It's been a long time since we have been able to get out on the motorbikes, together. As we rode, I started thinking that I might like to get another Bonneville and set it up for touring. The Trident has 53,000 miles on it and, while the motor is good and strong, I am beginning to get a bit nervous about the ancillary systems on a 13 year-old bike. I don't really relish the thought of some cable/hose/wire/fitting failing from age and leaving me stranded in Kansas at 10:00 PM.

Oh, well, I'll worry about that later.

I don't listen to an iPod, or a radio or anything as I ride. I listen to the sound of the motor, and the wheels on the pavement, and I think. I believe this is as much of the reason I enjoy touring by motorbike as anything else. It's rare that you spend 8 or 10 hours in a row, nowadays, without a lot of distracting input. On the bike, I pay attention to what I'm doing, and I provide my own entertainment.

One of the things I was thinking about as I rode was how pretty the plains of Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas are, right now. We have had a wet spring, and the grass on the rolling terrain is lush and beautiful. The trees along the drainages and around the widely spaced farmhouses are leafed out in brilliant green.

I always think that this part of the trip is tedious and ugly in a car, but I find myself amazed at the beauty of the area from the seat of a motorbike.

The first day's riding was relatively uneventful. I blew into Kansas City a bit after dark, made my way through to the eastern suburbs and pulled off at Blue Springs, Mo. for the night. Thirty minutes after I got my stuff unloaded from the bike, a huge thunderstorm broke loose
with high winds, drenching rains and that kind of fast-strobe lightning that looks like a fluorescent light with a bad ballast.

I had, with my amazing ability to find the worst lodging possible, checked into an old motel which, while clean, was obviously past it glory days. The vending machine area was an empty room, and there was no ice machine. I did find a pop machine by the pool (90 cents for a 12-oz. Diet Coke) and a chip machine in the lobby. So, after a sumptious feast of Fritos and Diet Coke, I turned off the light and went to sleep. Outside, the storm raged, but I was warm and dry and tired enough after 11 hours in the saddle to sleep through anything.

Saturday dawned bright and cool. The rain was long gone, but a bit of fog remained. I wore my rain jacket over my ventilated riding jacket for about the first 5 hours that I rode. The temperature never climbed above 80 degrees until late in the day.

At one point, after I had passed Saint Louis and was headed south on I-55, I was startled by a crotch-rocket style bike blowing by me at about 110 mph (I was cruising along at 80, myself). Within the next minute, or so, another dozen similar bikes came screaming by. Many of them had been lowered, and a couple had extended drag-style swingarms. Obviously, a club out for a ride (and about a third of them were women, which I thought was pretty cool, considering what a boy's club motorcycling is).

Funny thing was, they all slowed down about a quarter-mile in front of me, and did the same speed I was doing for the five miles I was behind them. Eventually, they all peeled off at an exit and gathered in a filling-station parking lot. I tootled on by at 80, gave them a wave, and continued on my way.
Eventually, I got to I-155, and crossed the Mississippi River into Tennessee. To give you an idea how tiring two long days, in a row, on a motorbike can be; I actually thought I was smiling when I took this picture!

I eventually got home, after passing the same Model A Ford three times in 100 miles (I guess they continued on past as I would fill up with gas, eat an ice cream bar, etc.) in time for my mother's 78th birthday dinner (corned beef and cabbage).

The next day, I actually went to church and listened to my daddy give the sermon (as guest speaker). As I walked in, the Holy Water boiled out of the font and the crucifix caught on fire, but other than that it was pleasant.

My sister and her boys showed up, that afternoon, and the real visiting began. Kyle had ordered a Diabolo, and we broke it out and started learning to use it. I'll leave you with some video of that action...



At 8:34 AM , Blogger frankenbiker said...

Glad to hear that you pay attention to your bike and your surroundings when you are on the motorcycle.I saw a guy the other day on the freeway with the cruise control on texting on a BMW cruiser!!! What a nut!!!

At 11:09 PM , Blogger m e l i g r o s a said...

wow thats pretty cool. of course love the coffee part! and they gear for bikes always looks so cool, I like the very industrial air to it.
cheers and happy vacation time!
xo /m

At 6:33 PM , Blogger Apertome said...

Looks like a fun trip! I haven't ridden a motorcycle during my adult life, but I think I'd like it.

At 12:38 PM , Anonymous TheBigWoo said...

Sounds like a great trip...And it's a great read too!
I'm in w/ you and Brad next time, Brother!
Just sold off a good portion of my "Wall Art" vintage bikes and picked up a Buell Blast and a V30 Magna that is silky smooth......
I'm liking the Honda the most, and since you are an Interceptor guy I'm sure that you recall that the '85 V30 Magna VF500C had basically the same engine as the 500 Interceptor's VF500F...
I picked it up from a retired chiropractor who took very good care of it! Well, I'm on my way over to your place w/ an unusual Japanese bike this aft.....

At 4:05 PM , Blogger katina said...

I love the picture of you where you say you're positive you THOUGHT you were smiling.


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