Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello 2011!!

Goodbye 2010

MMX flew by entirely too fast.  So many things took place...but most of them seem fairly small and almost trivial.  Compared to so many other people who have had some crazy ups or downs, ours has been fairly even keeled.  There was one horrible down...but it is just a part of life.  Otherwise, we have been fortunate for what we have and not wanting for anything.  (Except a better economy.  And World Peace.  :) )

If anyone follows Photojojo's newsletter (subscribe by RSS feed), a couple days ago they showcased Pummel Vision software (link to the Photojojo blogpost).  This app will crawl through all the images of your Flickr, Facebook or Tumblr account and create this spectacular video to host to your Vimeo or YouTube account.  It is a very interesting way to see all your imagery with subliminal message type rapidity.  It does make me realize that I love my photography, but need more closeups and people shots.  I was also struck with the fact that even though I took hundreds of images on most trips I only have 485 for 2010 on my Flickr account.  That makes my video relatively short.  And since I have only posted images for 2010, then this could be a reflection of my year on our motorcycle jaunts.

Maybe you would be willing to share yours? 

I like the app well enough, but find it could be improved in a couple of ways.  1) Let the user select images to be included by tags.  It currently just grabs them all.  I have a number of friends on Flickr that have 20,000+ images that span 3+ years.  It would be nice to have the ability to just select images taken a certain year, or images with a common tag.  2) Cannot change the music.  While I do like the music, I can now see thousands of other people creating these videos, all with the exact same music!  :)

For awhile I gave it some thought that the new and improved Windows Live Movie Maker has added a speed option and I could probably achieve a similar effect.  However, this is where I realized a major problem that I have by capturing most of my images in RAW (CR2) format.  I would have to go back through thousands of images and convert them.  Ain't gonna happen.  :)

So...I hope you can look back on your MMX and find that it had more ups than downs, goods than bads.  You are a stronger person for everything that has happened to you over the past year and just puts you on a strong footing to tackle everything that comes your way in MMXI.

Hello 2011

If sometimes you click through your photographs and wax nostalgic...think about something that will make them a little more visible.  I made a motorcycle calendar to give me something to drool over when I can't be on my bike. 




This is the second year I have made calendars to showcase the motorcycles.  Both times I have used Zazzle and have been fairly impressed by them.  The paper stock is nice and thick.  So this doesn't feel like those freebie calendars business have made up in bulk.  This year I am much more impressed with the color of the imagery.  Last year wasn't horrible, but the printing process itself left streaks across my skies.  And this year the stock is more of a glossy paper, giving more color and depth.  Last year was kinda between satin and semi-gloss and seemed to mute the colors.

So go through some of your imagery and put together a calendar.  It can help jump start the day dreams of sunshine and twisty roads while you are currently sitting in snow and freezing temperatures.

Mr. Oilburner's calendar hangs in his cube, prompting the local wolves to stop by when it is time to flip the page, and has them oohing and aahing at his adventures.  It will make people jealous of the places you have been and sights you have seen.

Happy New Year!!

I want to tell my family that I love them and appreciate you for putting up with me over the last year.  It is difficult to be so far away from those that I love and haven't seen for so long.  Just know that I am given you many mental hugs and kisses.

I wish to tell my friends that I deeply appreciate you, allowing me to share my highs and lows and letting me to help with yours.  You put up with my crabbiness and mood swings. Hopefully I am able to repay you in kind by being there when you need me and offering words of encouragement when you need them.  This goes to my local, face-to-face friends as well as my kindred spirit blog friends.  I have learned so much from your stories and advice.  Thank you for sharing and allowing me to follow along on the journey.

I must thank my partner in crime, Mr. Oilburner, and tell him how much I love him.  You have given me so much encouragement, even when I do bit the hand that feeds me.  You teach me so much, let's just hope some of it sticks.  :)  Thank you for walking along beside me.  Or racing down the road...I can see the grin through the full face helmet.

Have a Happy New Year!  I know some of you have already passed that magical marker.  And others are a couple hours behind.  Be safe.  Be merry.  I wish great things to pass in the coming year.  And I look forward to sharing them with you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snow and Space Shuttles

In the Southwest Phoenix experienced a record breaking high of 80F on December 13. A record that has been sitting there since 1939.  On the other hand Atlanta experienced recording breaking cold temperatures on December 14 of 14F.  A record that has stood since 1917.

15F temp

With temps like these sitting over the South it shouldn't come as any surprise that we received some snow here.  Snow isn't unheard of.  It just isn't common.  The schedule here is about every seven years.  And this is not one of these years.  Nevertheless...snow it was.


The accumulation was enormous. We had drifts all about town at curbs (what few there are), building foundations and windshield wipers.  Drifts up buildings piled to the second floor windows.  First floor doors and windows were fairly useless.  Vehicles were bogged down and it was almost too much for these poor pieces of machinery.  The weight was unbearable and almost broke power lines.  Nay, power poles!  And lets not get started on the black ice...

Snow pellets

So the bikes have been tucked away in the garage.  Their little footsies are cold.  They aren't directly on the cement floor, but the scant 1/2 inch separating the tires from floor doesn't prevent the cold from radiating up towards everything warmer.

But the clouds cleared away on Sunday.  The sun warmed the ground enough to dry up the rain and hidden ice.  The temperatures were a chilling 40F, but one could survive outside.  So we dusted off the bikes, gently blew a little air into those frigid dancing shoes and went through the labors of suiting up into our death and flexibility defying cold weather riding gear.

We stupidly hoped the promised mid- to high-40's temps would come earlier, instead of later.  So we foolishly just zipped the liners into the jackets and went on our merry way.  Not so merry...  If we had just been riding on regular side-streets at standard speeds it probably would have been fine.  But our destination was way on the other side of Atlanta and we were taking the interstate to get there.  So the liners proved insufficient at highway+ speeds.  It wasn't so bad that we had to pull over instantly...but we knew arrival at our destination meant we would be unzipping those useless liners and suiting into the heated Gerbings.  Why oh why do we shun you dear Gerbings??  Actually I know, but that is a story for another time.

So stopping and changing our clothing at our destination gave us a pause.  See...we were following the lead on our local tag game.  The current tag had been sitting in situ for awhile and people on the boards were starting to whine.  Warm weather wussies wanted it to move, but didn't want to be the one to move it.  Insults were flung back and forth!  It was getting nasty and degenerating into some rank name calling.  Then someone put forth that the group was just a bunch of girls.

So...OK...  If they were nothing but girls, it was gonna be a girl that kicked their ass's.  But as I said, changing clothes at this particular destination was disconcerting.  This location just happens to be Travis Tritt's driveway...

GA Tag - Travis Tritt's

I could just imagine what was going through Mr (or Mrs) Tritt's mind as they 1) wondered what these motorcycles were doing in their driveway and 2) why are they dressing in their driveway??  Mr. Oilburner and I kept waiting to hear the whine of an electric motor rotating some remote camera around to keep us in its sight.

Because this also turned into a day that the Tritt's residence was a stopping point for many motorcycles.  (It seems the warming trend in the weather had a couple more people out on their steeds visiting the same locale.)  But I won!!  HA!

I wasn't planning on being too original on where I was going to move the tag to.  I was just making sure it moved to stop the whining and shove it up their noses that it took a girl to move it.  Mr. Oilburner and I were going to visit some nearby relatives and we would just place the tag in a nearby landmark.  A well known landmark that would be one more nail in that coffin of vindication.

But on that way to that landmark I spied something infinitely more suited to my tastes.  I finally managed to get an image of my bike in front of the Space Shuttle.


The McNASA McShuttle!!

Admittedly it isn't quite the Shuttle that I would have liked to image my bike in front of, but it is better then nothing.  Seems this one wasn't launching anytime soon.  Just like that other one sitting down at the Cape.  (In case you haven't heard, the same launch that RichardM and I had hoped to witness is currently schedule to fly no earlier then Feb 3, 2011... Poop!)

In all, it was a lovely day.  We never did see those high-40's temps.  My temperature gauge bounced back and forth between 38 and 44.  The Gerbings was making it bearable.  Earlier I alluded to a problem with my Gerbing's, which I am still not going to go into just yet.  The current result is that I am not able to use my jacket at 100% effectiveness.  But the cold was kept at bay.

We found a wonderful shanty of a restaurant with great food.  The staff was friendly and used to seeing their regulars.  We were identified as strangers and treated as such.  Meaning that they talked our ears off about who we were and what we were doing and when would we be coming back.  The food was really, really good.


Philly Cheese steak with onions and peppers.  YUM!

Pulled pork BBQ.  The sauce was wonderful.

The place is actually Benson's Grill.  They haven't yet changed the name on the outside.
After the food and festivities there are always the people.  We did see quite a few bikes on the roads.  As we were leaving Benson's we waved to a few going by.  We joked and laughed, wondering if they were on their way to go visit Mr. Tritt's house.  (Turns out one of them did!!  LOL)

There was also the guy in the truck at some intersection that was intent on getting my attention.  Mr. Oilburner saw him and returned his thumbs up.  But he wasn't satisfied with that and needed to get my affirmation too.  I did have to smile at his enthusiasm and wonder if he was happy to see the bikes, or to see a girl on a bike.

Then we had our familiar obligations...  We said our hellos.  I worked on posting my pictures of that tag while Mr. Oilburner sucked down large quantities of Hershey Kisses.  We chatted and discussed Christmas plans for awhile.  Then excused ourselves as we wanted to get home before the sun went down and the cold came back with a vengeance.  The older generation of the household wanted to see us ride away, as they hadn't seen us on bikes.  (And one secretly still believes that I can't possibly ride...)  The cold kept them peeping out from the window.  But it makes one painfully aware of just how long it takes to stow sundry laptops and cameras.  And redress in the required safety gear of gloves, helmets and jackets.  And to get said jackets properly plugged in.  And to get the steed mounted and ready to move.  And there wasn't any possible way I was going to make a u-turn in this walking path they call a street because you could be guaranteed that I was going to do something foolish or stupid since loved ones were watching.

Boy, it is so much easier just opening a door and climbing into a car.  A twist of a knob and heat is blasting out some vents to warm you right up.  But there is NOTHING that compares to squeezing that tank between your legs, twisting the throttle and leaning into the speed to make up for any amount of time required getting all that gear right.  (Which I didn't actually do and my neck froze on the way home because I refused to stop.  I just wanted to get home!!  It was cold!!)  :)

I have to acknowledge special fortitude in blog friends that are tougher then I and are out riding in colder temps with much less whingeing.  CircleBlue on his Symba.  SonjaM enjoying Nella for the last ride of the year.  Steve and his scooter, camera always in hand.  Tombstone's icy mountain ride. Trobairitz and her speculations on riding weather. Twisted Roads legend making another excursion before the snow sets in.  Nikos overcoming machine and distance to enjoy some water with winter.  D&T enjoying (cough) feets of snow and prospects of foot traffic. And then there is Roger in the southern hemisphere just laughing away at our chilly temps and snowy tribulations as he enjoys the beginning of summer.  But don't worry Roger.  We will be basking in our warm, sweet revenge come April and May.  Click on those links on the right side of this page and support some friends in their adventures.

May you all steadfastly remain with two wheels on the ground and the shiny side up.  May you each enjoy the season in the best way you see fit and ride to many more adventures.  Wishing you all the best for the remaining year and robust wishes that all come true in the one to come!  :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Playing in the Cemeteries

The cold weather over our extended Thanksgiving weekened gave us every excuse to be lazy and just relax at home with blankets and books.  Or sweaters and TV's based upon your personal inclination.  :)

But the stirrings of cabin fever on this cloudless and chilling day had me walking between the garage to look at my bike and the room where my gear was flung to all corners.  I was restless to the point of drawing undo attention to myself and risking wrath of being too energetic.  I started to quietly pull my gear on, but still drew queries and a riding buddy.

I didn't want to make it a long ride.  The day was getting a little long in the shadow.  So that darn Georgia Tag was going to be my destination.  It was probably 30 miles away directly through downtown and near that famous busiest of world airports.

It is quite interesting to see this little cemetery surrounded by the Atlanta airport.  There is a runway just south and a taxi-way just east and north.

Flat Rock Cemetery
Flat Rock Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia
Quite a few weenies on the forum had made noises about not going anywhere near this tag because driving downtown was dangerous enough with bullets whizzing by that they didn't even want to encounter that all endangering mini-van pilot.  (I probably used to be one of those weenies, but I have put on my big girl panties and grown up.  The devil's you know are much easier to exorcise then the ones you don't.)  I decided to be cantankerous and move the tag even farther in town, in ever more dangerous territory.   I do believe I am the first to put this tag "inside the perimeter". 

For you out-of-towners:

I-285 goes around Atlanta.  So all those pesky semi's that don't need to deliver to downtown can relieve congestion by going around the city.  Not that it helps at all since they are not the predominate vehicle on our roadways.  But I-285 marks a snobbish aspect of Atlanta: whether you live ITP or OTP.  It is becoming fashionable to live Inside the Perimeter as the height of culture and prestige.  And people that live Outside the Perimeter are inferior.  Supposedly...

So...back to the tag.  I decided to move the tag to the heart of downtown Atlanta Inside the Perimeter and alienate that many more people that don't dare set foot Inside the Perimeter.  I put the tag in Oakland Cemetery.  Mr. Oilburner says I am just evol.  (No, not mis-spelled.  Think about it...)

Civil War Monument, Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, GA
I almost shot myself in the foot on this decision.  The narrow, old roadways have been repaved so many times that crowning is in major evidence.  I was too scared to stop anywhere else for fear of ending upside in a gutter with my bike on top of me.  So the spire was extremely easy...and safe.  :)

We hadn't eaten lunch and were nearing the dinner hour.  So we looked around for someplace to eat.  Right across the road from the cemetery was Six Feet Under.


Adorned with great mermaids. 


Wonderful seafood.  You are correct, the onion rings are not seafood.  Get over it.  :)


And then the restroom had this awesome hand dryer...

The Dyson Airblade...dun, dunh, duuuu!
Yes, I took a picture in the bathroom.  Crudy picture as I was a little self-concious about it since this other lady wouldn't leave!!  I hear they are all the rage in Scotland.  And maybe the rest of the island.  But this is the first I have ever seen them here.  My experience ranges to the Xlerator...up in a college town Moe's in Dahlonega.

Picture taken from internet
It wasn't a terribly long day, but so many new experiences and locations.  It definitely wasn't the same ol' ride.  :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dragon Tails and Toes

OK. So this really isn't about Dragon Toes. But I rather enjoyed the story at breakfast as we started gathering together.

The story of the Tail of the Dragon is 318 curves in 11 miles. (Be watchful of you definition of a curve.) Over breakfast some discussion turned to Florida and its absolute lack of curves. One gentleman actually recalled a shirt (that I would enjoy getting my hands on) that a highway in Florida is considered the Toes of the Dragon: 11 curves in 318 miles. I can definitely vouch for that.

In anticipation of disappointing you, my reading and riding buddies, there really isn't much of a tale to this. I know I haven't written up, or even shared, my previous Dragon exploits from September. So this is going to be plain boring.

Saturday was supposed to be clear and would probably give us the last, best chance to ride the North Carolina mountains in reasonable weather. Temperatures were supposed to reach low to mid 60's with few clouds. Supposed to. I don't know about those words.

The day was cold. Very cold. Hopping on the bikes at 6:15 AM with the temp gauge reading out 39F. And that cloud cover was encompassing much more of the sky then we had hoped. We met up with everyone at IHOP. A few of us ate. Others didn't. We saddled up and hit the road hard.

Only one anti-social bike missing from the picture.

No rest for the weary as we made it up to Hiawassee for our first stop.  Then it was a mere 60 miles to Robbinsville, NC where we stopped for more fuel. The next basic stop was Deal's Gap and the beginning of the Dragon.

I did stop at the dam we have passed numerous times.  The boobs I was with
rode on by.  Intent on the destination.

Destination: Dragon
We ran the Dragon, each to our own abilities. I was there to just have fun and not break any records. We continued on the Dragon into Tennessee with intentions of swinging around and coming back to Robbinsville on Cherohala Skyway.

We ate lunch at a mom and pop Hardee's.  (Please tell me that you know I am joking!)  Along the way of the Dragon we picked up a fellow rider: Joe.  One of our group had met Joe earlier in the year at a Goldwing rally. 

This is Joe's mileage for this year.  Damn!
I sat next to Joe during lunch and he shared stories and experiences of following the Motorcycle Cannonball.  He originally was just riding along the route, but turned into staff as he helped fix, limp and gas the motorbikes along. In case you didn't read, or guess, the Motorcycle Cannonball is for motorbikes of vintage 1915 and earlier.  I particularly enjoyed hearing tales of the woman from Germany with her 250 CC 1907 JAP bike that didn't have pedals or a kickstart.  She literally had to run along and push the bike until it started, then hop on.  This occurred every single time she stopped, including stop signs and stop lights.

He was a great guy to talk and ride with for a ways.

The difference of Cherohala this time was under cover of dusk. We started late in the day. (The shadows are a bit long in the tooth.)  It only had to get darker and colder.  Which it did. 

Shadows are growing.

Love the clouds here.  Mr. Oilburner thought the trees still had
color.  I told him the color was of dead, brown leaves.

I just love those clouds!

I missed the moon shot as I was playing catch up on this road.  Joe promises to send it to me.  Many of my memories of the day are tainted with a headache that turned into a migraine as the sun went down.  But everyone basically had a good day.  For two of our numbers this was their first Dragon slaying.  We all made it home safely, just a little colder for wear.  I think the next few rides will be nice and slow, not covering major distances...  :)


Since I have stopped including tracks of my rides I sometimes forget that people on the other side of the world really haven't a clue as to places that I reference.  Roger, this is for you.  Tail of the Dragon (toenails...good grief...but it was funny) is in NC, about 170 miles from Atlanta.

View Larger Map

Friday, November 19, 2010

Track Me...

I think I have this worked out. HTML, Map API's and development isn't quite my thing. But I can usually stumble through.

I've added a new page: Track Me!

You will notice it in the links above: Home, Ride Ideas, Track Me! Just below the blog title/picture.

I hope I have it set up correctly to show a map. And track pins when I have activated my SPOT unit.

We will be riding up to the Tail of the Dragon tomorrow. Let's see if you can come along for the adventure. Please realize there will not be any movement on that map until Nov 20 about 8:00 AM EST.

Let me know how it works out!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Yes, Virginia, It Does Freeze in Florida

Take a moment to think about a couple things.  If I say Florida, USA what comes to mind?  Palm Trees swaying in a warm ocean breeze?  Orange trees bending to the weight of robust fruit? Sun beating down on sandy beaches full of sun bathing beauties?  Tanned surfers straddling boards on the ocean swells?

For the next long while I believe my brother and I are going to be thinking frozen fingertips, four layers of clothing and 44F (6C).

The second to last shuttle launch was supposed to occur during the beginning of November.  You may or may not be aware that I have tried to attend a couple of these, without success.  I am beginning to think that I am the jinx in the equation.  Sure the riding group has tried 3 times, but one of those times they were successful!

I mention this to my brother and the plan starts hatching of him flying out and us riding down.  With time constraints on all sides of the equation, and the fickleness of scheduling the launches, we determined it might be best for Brother to fly into Orlando and rent a motorbike.  I would just ride down there and meet up with him.

Complications abound on the launch.  It is postponed a day on Monday.  Then again on Tuesday.  Wednesday was looking good for it until some electrical issues cropped up.  They said Thursday, but we all knew the weather would prevent that.  Thursday evening has many of us glued to phones or computers, any which way you have of getting your information overload fix.  Friday looked like a go, with 70% chance of favorable conditions for a launch.

My riding group garnered 6 crazy individuals that would attempt to meet up in the morning and burn up the pavement to get down there.  Us northern folks would meet slightly south of Atlanta at 4 to hit the road at 4:30.  Along the way we would pick up the other guys that lived south of town.  Our first group was a little late getting started as the 40F (4C) temps had us all a bit sluggish, but we hit the road and collected the others that were waiting on the side of the interstate.


We take a couple short breaks or breakfast breaks.  But I am the one to break the rhythm slightly.  Since we were averaging 80+ mph, my bike was sucking the fuel down a little faster than anticpated.  I was expecting another 100 miles out of this tank, but started to worry at the 50 mark.  I took the lead and made us pull over for gas much too close to the breakfast break.

However, it did turn out for the best.  It was a little after 9, and we were to discover that today's launch was again postponed a short 40 minutes prior.  Thank you to trusty data connections on phones and helpful techies at home calling us on the road.

What to do, what to do.

We were a little over half way to Orlando, and the group decided it wasn't worth going there.  However, Brother would be landing in Orlando in about 30 minutes!  The group wasn't in a hurry to get away, so we waited around until I was able to reach Brother and see what his plans were.


He was still interested in getting together and we would just figure out where it all went.  A quick call to the pet sitter confirmed that she would be available for a second night and then I would have all weekend to go where I wanted.  The group and I say our good-byes and they head on one direction, while I head in another.

Brother and I keep in touch along the way and figure the good half-way point to meet would be Gainesville, Florida.  He urges me to find a nice place to sit down and eat and maybe take a little nap.  Of course, my logic and luck always leave me with something to desire.  I rarely have any luck getting off the first off-ramp of a city, so I wait for the second.  I have luck in that it drops me off closer to downtown, but run out of luck with stop-and-go traffic in both directions for as far as I can see.  Heck no!  I mean, I'm not even seeing any original or fun places to eat and I really don't want to subject Brother with fighting through this traffic.  I beat it back onto the freeway, going north and exit the at the first ramp.  I don't care.  I'm tired and hungry and Wendy's is looking good enough for me.  I don't think they will mind if I crash here for a little while.

The Salad and Frosty for $4.99 is a good selection!  Yum.  I eat, relax and pull out the maps and GPS.  Brother and I really haven't a clue where to go from here.  I want to be ready with a few options when he arrives.  I figure I am about 45 minutes ahead of him and just kinda hunker down to rest my eyes.  Of course, I pick the booth with the freezing air-conditioning vent right above it, but I am too tired to move.  I pillow my jacket up in the booth and slump into it.  I grasp my phone in my hand and proceed to lose consciousness.  It is a very nice break for me as I have now been up 12 hours and about 350 miles in avg 45F (7C) temps.  The break is nice.

Brother is a little later then he expects and I wind up holding the Wendy's fort down for about 2 1/2 hours.  The employees are very nice and understanding.  I told one guy cleaning tables what was up and he kindly passed the word around, so no one had any issues.  The annoying part was ALL of the people!  It was Friday, near school and the influx was tremendous!  They would look at me and I would just blearily blink at them.  Who cares!  LOL

Brother arrives!!

You can tell we are both just exhausted!  I'm not even sure how we made a decision of where to go, but we end up pointed towards Tallahassee.  I think we headed here so that I could show him around the panhandle a little.  Mr. Oilburner and I used to rent houses on St. George Island and the vicinity...we really enjoy the emptiness there.  It is a far away destination without hotels and large attractions for family vacations.  So the people that do come here are coming for quiet and beach access without tons of people around.  Just my speed.  I know we can't make it to St. George tonight, so Tallahassee seemed like a great mid-point.

The temperatures are slowly creeping back down from my high of 63F (17C).  It isn't supposed to be this cold in Florida and Brother doesn't have the gear for this...coming from sunny SoCal.  He is bundling up in his long johns and leather jacket...but when we reach 48F he has had enough.  I have a few extra pieces of cold weather gear that he needs more than I do, and I hand over some thick winter gloves and fleece lined overpants.  Brother has some freakishly small hands (Hi Bro! :) ), so the gloves fit, well, like a glove.  But my a$$ is a might bigger and the overpants are about 5 times too big on him.  He isn't complaining though as they cut the wind and actually allowed his legs to finally be warm on this day of adventure.  We only have another 45 minutes on the road anyway.

All this while, I am wondering just exactly what are we going to do when we get to Tallahassee?!?  No reservations, no knowledge of the place...  I call Mr. Oilburner and he promptly starts the hotel hunt from across the country.  It takes him a couple hours, but I get a message with reservation information when we are about 30 minutes from the city.  Gods be thanked...but it is expensive!!  Turns out it is homecoming weekend for Florida State University...wasn't a hotel room to be had.  Mr. Oilburner called about 5 places and just had to settle for the Hilton. hehehe (He chose the Hilton because he knew we needed the sleep and wanted us to have a good rest after the long day.)  Too bad there was a huge mix up at the reservations call number that also services the Hampton next door.  Turns out that even though they quoted the Hilton, they reserved the rooms at the Hampton.  Thank you to John for being patient with us, canceling our reservation at the Hampton and finding us fabulous rooms at the Hilton.  That bed alone was worth its price in gold!

Dinner was a blur with some liquor and salads and avocado sandwiches.  Brother had the margaritas and I opted for some sophisticated wine.  We quickly called Mom since she hadn't a clue any of this was going down, while Brother fell asleep across the table.  We walked back to the hotel, said our goodnights and promptly hit the hay.

The bed was this wonderful memory foam / sleep number type of thing.  I laid down and it just enveloped me!  Too bad my arms and legs were still thrumming from the ride.  So I hopped into a very hot shower, luxuriated in the Neutrogena body wash with this musky scent (can we say aromatherapy?) and then folding myself back into bed.  Oh yeah, inhaled a couple advil too.  :)  Dead to the world and it was a wonderful thing!  (Turned out this was a 510 mile day for me.  My longest to date.  No, an Iron Butt is not in my near future.)

We cut it close to the check out time.  We both slept in a little, then ate breakfast (thanks again to John for the vouchers!) and just took our time getting the bikes packed.  Which would come to bite us in the ass later.  We headed west a little to cut to a quiet highway heading south into Apalachicola, Fl.  It has been years since I have been on these roads.  Mr. Oilburner and I talk regularly of taking a motorbike vacation down here, but the pup is preventing that.  Soon.  We can wait.  But it is such a treat to be riding these roads!!  There really isn't much to see until you near the ocean, but it is peaceful.

We stop once so I can check on Brother and if he needs warm clothes.  And also to let him see the mess of my visor some bug left.  I actually saw the bug at the last second and couldn't help but cross my eyes, watching as it hit.  It was perfectly dead center and didn't actually interfere with my viewing area.  Too funny.

What's the last thing that goes through a bug's mind
when it hits the visor??  Its butt!  :)

We don't stop again until we reach the tidal marshes and I want Brother to have a look.







We also stop a few miles down the road when we finally reach the Gulf.  I don't think Brother has ever seen the Gulf..


I realize that we might be a little pressed for time if we actually want to reach Ocala, Fl tonight.  We haven't eaten lunch, we still have another 4+ hours riding time ahead of us and it is nearing 3 o'clock.  I don't think we timed this too well.  :(

I forced Brother to ride the bridge over to St. George.  Then I rode along the coastal road to one end of the island.  There wasn't much interest in stopping.  I reached the state park to turn around and head back over to the mainland for my favorite restaurant in Apalachicola, Papa Joe's!!  I also remembered to actually turn the video recorder on!!  Mr. Oilburner was going to be green with envy.

We enter Apalachicola to find there is some festival going on that has the town busier then I have ever seen it!  There are tons of bikes and streets blocked off for motorbike parking.  Too bad we didn't have any time to stop and oogle.  Brother and his Harley would have definitely fit in.  Me and beemerbaby were quite in the minority.  So were helmets as Florida is a no helmet law state...

We reach Papa Joe's and enjoy some fresh seafood.  No worries about the oil spill here.

Brother has the oysters on the half shell with shrimp and cheese.  I have the crab claws.   Memories come flooding in at the first bites.  It has been too long.



Pathetically we were short on time.  And we didn't stop for much sightseeing or picture taking.  I did get a nice video out of the day though.  I hope you enjoy...

The day was lovely and the temperature did climb to a respectable 65F (18C), but the day and the distance was long.  Sundown caught us still 2 hours (120 miles) from our nights stop in Ocala.  As soon as the sun started sinking into the Gulf so went the temps.  Our ride through the darkness hovered at 44F (6C).  We were both tired and chilled when we reached the hotel.  A hot shower helped me a little, but I could still feel the chill and woke about midnight shivering.  I snuggled between covers and pillows and warmed up.  Brother says he upped the thermostat to 75F (24C) in his room and slept in his long johns but was still cold all night.  (Guess my extra blubber layers are helpful.  Just think of the temperatures the whales deal with!)

We were determined to get up early and hit the road.  Brother was headed towards Daytona to see the Atlantic and the Speedway (for dad).  His goal was to see both coasts, and he achieved it.  But he also had to hightail it back to the rental place and return the bike at high noon.  I had to head home and had many miles ahead.  We had miscommunicated breakfast a little and wound up spending an extra hour at the hotel with each other.  Not necessarily a bad thing, but it cut into our time tables.

We rushed to load the bikes and said our hurried good-byes.  I hoped it warmed up quickly for him as I was taking all of my gear with me.  I knew he would be traveling through some swampy areas that might be a few degrees cooler then our current 50F (10C).  He seemed confident.  I let him go ahead and I finished making adjustments.  I was able to gauge his whereabouts by the noise of his straightpipes.  I was really happy not to have ridden to his right very often on this trip.  Those pipes were LOUD!!  I could tell when he finally made it to the interstate and was on his way.  As he only had to make it one exit up the road I fancied I could also hear him when he headed East.

And Me?  I slabbed it home.  Nothing pretty about it.  400 miles of interstate.  I discovered, as I had on the Savannah trip last year, that I actually ride quite fast when I am alone.  Riding interstates with Mr. Oilburner and I will tell you that my comfortable speed is about 75 mph.  It seems when I am alone that increases significantly.  I won't tell you what those little digits were on my GPS, but I will tell you I was one of the faster things moving on that interstate.  Not the fastest, though.  ;)  Sucked the fuel a little faster.  Good for breaks sooner.  I did discover just what those transport trailers that were the height of my waist were for:


Greyhounds!  Poor little things.  I could only imagine how cold they were with all of the vents open, at highway speeds, in 55F (13C) temps and no body fat.  Yes, I was traveling about the same speeds with a puny windshield, so I understood that.  But the no body fat eludes me.  LOL.

I made it home in decent time completely tuckered out.  I soaked in the tub to warm up, nuked a turkey pot pie for dinner and was in bed by 7:30.  It was one long and cold weekend.  Great to see Brother.  But wish it had been warmer.  :)

-Tripometer said 1254 miles
-My bike passed 30K miles and I missed it
-Proud of Brother for being such a good rider.  I still can't think about rental bikes.  I just envision myself dropping them.  He only envisions scrapping floorboards.
-Tried to get in touch with a tag buddy in Florida, but he was out doing an Iron Man.  At least the weather was good for him.
-Slabbing is hard on my tires.  I could see the table topping progress the farther north I made it.  I might have to think of different tires for a cross country trip.
-I haven't seen much of Florida, relatively, but it is flat with straight roads!  (I think their highest elevation point is 200 ft above MSL.)  I just can't imagine those being my everyday roads.  Mr. Oilburner made me repeat myself when I uttered that to him.  He thought the phone lines were playing tricks on him.  I had to admit that I am liking the twisties and would miss them.
-Looking forward to a time when Brother can lead me around his stomping grounds.
-I will need to take a spare room key from Brother as he managed to lock himself out of both of his rooms.
-You can see a few more pictures on Flickr.  But really, honestly didn't take too many, and Brother hasn't yet shared his.



I gave hard thought to taking the RT for this weekend run.  That big, fixed fairing is great for deflecting wind from the rider.  No wind, not as cold.  Not as cold, less fatigue.  Less fatigue, easier riding.  I'm not against that fairing when it works in my favor, but think of the hot summertime when you aren't getting a cooling breeze behind it.  The tour gearing would also have worked in my favor with steadier cruising at those higher speeds, translating to better gas mileage as well.  I vacillated up to the last minute but went with my baby because we are an item.  We fit.  I didn't want to cut my teeth on the RT on such a long trip.  In the end I am completely happy with my decision.  The ride home was plagued by high winds.  Sometimes rounding a gentle curve on the freeway, the forest would give way to pasture and the wind would whip across.  It managed to push me across lanes a couple of times, or force higher lean angles executing turns.  I wonder how I would have woman-handled the RT in those situations with all those fairings catching the wind.  Someday I will try.  Just didn't need to push it this time.  :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


A previous post compared my R12R to my husbands R12RT.  One area that seems completely subjective to each person's individual tastes is the cockpit of their bike.  Should it move with, or independently of, the handlebars?  That will be the $64,000 question for the next 30 seconds.  Here are the respective motorbikes in question.  I could probably get used to independent handlebars...but I don't have to, so I won't.  :)  To each their own.  I don't necessarily think one is better than the other, just what one is accustomed to.



Just take a look at the differences in those control panels!?!  My R has a tight little panel, just the necessities.  His has these dials and space for speakers and humongous mirrors!  LOL

A disheartening view :( 


...but my baby took great care of me over the weekend and it was my turn to return the favor.  She was going in for her 30K service and brake line recall.  Mr. Oilburner's was going in for its 12K service, new shoes and brake line recall also.  They should be back at home on Thursday.  :) 

I called to set appts for next week.  But they offered to send the trailer to pick the bikes up today.  I couldn't logically refuse.  It was just the emotional side that didn't want to let them go.


I may fit in with this motley crew yet.  :)  Have crocs, will travel.  But notice the glass of wine and the baby camera.