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.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Blog Buddies

I am enjoying reading people's blogs from around the world. The internet can be such an accommodating place if you look in the right areas and have a little sense of naivete. I am naive, but also cynical. I like to take people at their word and they are really who they are presenting. But my cynicism rears its head sometimes, knowing that things are not always as they seem.

...and sometimes that is a good thing!  (Edit: that didn't come out right!!  I am in no way saying that Richard doesn't present himself well on his blog.  Just forget I said anything here...it was meant more as a "and sometimes people are exactly who they present themselves to be".  sigh...I will learn to think one of these days...)

 I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow blogger RichardM Tuesday of last week.  Nov 2 that would be.  He was a little difficult to plan with in that I offered to get together but he was very picky on what days he could go.   Then, he couldn't even decide on where he wanted to go.  Oh wait!!!  That was me!!  Oops...

Here I go, offering to let's go out to dinner.  And the first thing I have to write back is, "I can't do Wednesday.  Well, I might be able to, but won't know until the day of to determine if the shuttle is going to launch that day or not.  If it is expected to launch, I can't make dinner."  It went along in that vein for a few minutes, offering excuses.  Richard nonchalantly offered Tuesday.  Great!

OK...now, where to go.  He then took time out of his conference to locate nearby establishments.  I think we are both so easy-going that anything sounded good to us.  I counter-offered an Irish Pub that is a ways from the hotel and he graciously accepted.  I figured it would be a good chance to get him away from the nearby fare that he was destined to eat the rest of the week.

It is always interesting to meet up with people that you have never met.  Sitting, or standing, there and scrutinizing each face to determine if this is the person that you are supposed to recognize.  Then there is the first awkward recognition and introductions.  But being the blog-o-sphere, we actually know a bit about each other...at least one facet of each other's lives.

We hoof it out to the truck and get on our way.  We begin exchanging stories, me by asking just what in the world is this I2 stuff.  I read up their page, but couldn't understand too much.  He cleared it up quickly.  Then we got into the fact that he is leaving early to go down to Cape Canaveral.  (He did divulge why and I was so excited.  I also wanted to tease y'all mercilessly that I knew but wasn't going to tell.  Alas, I am behind.  :) )  I am glad for his opportunity and wished someday to go too.

Then we talked about the shuttle launch and that it was being delayed.  I knew it would probably launch on Friday, by this time, because weather on Thursday was not conducive.  I promptly smacked him one to let him know my displeasure at his chances of seeing a launch with absolutely no thought of planning involved.  Yet here I had been stressing about logistics for two weeks now!!

He took it in stride. (I hope.  LOL.)

Over dinner he regaled me with some of his history...so much in common and he has done some things in his life that I wish I had done with mine!!  Very interesting!!

Richard, I had great fun getting to meet you and talk in person.  Thank you!!

Trying to anticipate some questions from Bobskoot:
  • Nope, didn't take a single picture.
  • Nope, he wasn't wearing crocs.  (Neither was I.)
  • And for it being a pub, we ordered Diet Coke and water, no libations were consumed.
  • Richard did opt for some traditional Bangers and Mash.  I opted for the Fish and Chips.

Learning the launch was 70% favorable for Friday,  some riding buddies and I worked out a way to ride down there.  My brother was even flying in from CA and renting a bike.  I figured we could try and get together with Richard for dinner.  Alas, the launch was scrubbed.  I opted to split with my group and continue down to meet up with my brother for the weekend.  Since I had been up since 1:30, and on the road since 3:30, I forgot to call Richard about dinner until 7.  My bad.  I'm sorry!!  Dinner is on me next time we get together!

I look forward to having the opportunity to meet every blog-buddy...  Maybe even go riding, on your roads or mine.  :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

BMW 12R vs 12RT: The Same, Yet Vastly Different

I've been avoiding riding Mr. Oilburner's RT for a year.  I do not want to be the one responsible for dropping it for the first time.  And drop it I will since I am so obsessively thinking about it.  Kinda like object fixation; if you continue to stare at something because you really want to avoid it, you will more then likely hit it dead on.

I've sat on the RT and tried it on for size.  And it has always felt a little tall.  I've tried maneuvering it in the garage and just found that I couldn't really flat foot it.  And I really like having that full contact with the ground.  Especially for something that feels so top heavy.

So I have been avoiding riding that thing.  Until...

The weather was great and we needed to clear our heads, so we hopped on the bikes and headed SW for a late lunch/early dinner.  And, of course, I played it into my head that the friction point didn't feel right on my baby.  It felt like it was at the very end of my fingertips and that I only had about a quarter of an inch to let it slip.  I needed that slip for all of the slow dimwits in front of me that accelerated from 0 to 35 in 3.2 miles.  So I was doing some jerky around, not really having the room to slip the clutch.

Mr. Oilburner thinks this is all in my head.  He just can't reconcile that anything can go wrong with a hydraulics clutch.  My adjustment knob is nowhere it can be accidentally adjusted.  And if something were to go wrong with the clucth and hydraulics it would cause the friction point to move closer to the grip, not farther away.

We reach an area that I know is basically a straight shot forward with no real turns and no hills.  So I pull over and tell him to see what it feels like to him.  I traded bikes.  Wow.  I mean these bikes are "supposed" to be the same.  But they aren't.

First, the seating position is just taller, not to mention that cushiony padded bum rest that feels like an air cushion seat in a truck with air suspension.  Just kind of float along.  Back to the height...it is conducive to sitting up straighter than the R.  And it seems the seat to foot peg distance might be a little longer on the RT than the R.  I've noticed quite a few people in the R boards complain about leg issues and eventually install a peg lower kit on the R's.  So I might not be crazy.

Second, the cockpit on that thing!?!  Of course, I pull out of the parking lot and someone just so happens to be passing in the opposite lane.  I really don't want to run into them, but the bike just doesn't seem to be turning.  Now, I don't look at the windshield on my R when turning, but it is in my periphery and I am aware of it and the angle to horizon when turning.  That damn windshield wasn't turning!!  I manage to turn that behemoth into my lane (don't worry, there wasn't any near miss, just in my head) and point her straight down the road.  This gives me the chance to take in windshield, mirrors and instrument panel.  Nothing moves on that thing!!  I just don't get any feedback of turning.

Third, the mirrors suck.  They are placed in front of, and lower, than the grips.  They are convex, giving a little more view of things behind.  But the top half is taken up with my knuckles on those grips.  You could have seen the death grip, slowing turning my skin white, if I didn't have gloves on.

Fourth, the gearing is completely different.  I can't seem to find a spec sheet for the gear ratio, but Mr. Oilburner and I have had lengthy discussions during our rides comparing gear to tach information.  We know they have different gearing.  I found the gears quite acceptable.  It promoted regular shifiting and nice speeds.  Of course, I wasn't prepared to go over 50, but I am sure that would have come along in time.  I also found downshifting extremely smooth.

Why wouldn't I go over 50?  Fifth...without that feedback of turning the handlebars the thing just seemed to respond so quickly to the mere hint of pressure on the grips.  I could flick that thing around easily, at speed.  I didn't want to press my luck of something darting in front of me going faster than I was comfortable.

Sixth, connection to the bike.  My little R, with the lower seat, allows me to tuck my pelvis into that tank and grip it with my knees in the provided contours.  On the RT, I just felt like I was sitting on top of the bike.  I didn't feel a real connection to it, to be able to snuggle into it and purr along together.

Seventh, those windsails they call fairings.  OK.  I may be exagerating a little.  Nah!  There wasn't much of a wind to speak of, but gusts would come through now and again.  I could definitely feel it on the RT.  Not anything that worried me.  But then again, they weren't coming across a 1000 acre plain at 60 mph. And all those fairings masked the engine noise...what little there is.

In all, I probably ventured 10 miles on it.  At most.  It was a very interesting experiecing and I am glad that I finally did it.  I will not be hopping on it first the next time we go out.  I'm still in love with my baby.  But there are definitely differences between two bikes that are supposed to be closer than kissing cousins.