Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Around The World In 8 Hours

Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Chanukah. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Happy Anniversary.

So much has gone on in the past month. Sometimes the smallest changes can be the most difficult to handle. I may backtrack at some point in time and tell you some of the stories. But for now, let's look to the future and get to the latest ride.

Well...the latest ride was Oilburner taking his bike in for the 6K service. And it having to stay a couple days extra to replace a leaking final drive seal. Ahhh...the beloved final drive on these R bikes. They arent getting any love, nor respect, these days.

So, the ride before?? We took a tour of the world. And we accomplished that in a mere 8 hours. OK. It wasnt really around the world. It was more of a European tour. I've always wanted to travel. Though I was hoping I would get to spend more time sightseeing. This was just a whirlwind tour that left little time to see or do anything. If we only saw the seedy part of town...so be it.

US Riders News is promoting world travel, almost armchair style. They want us to get out and see some International cities...that are located in our home, or neighboring, state. Submit 6 photos of you and your bike, or your bike and the magazine, and receive a patch.

I have a friend that is laid up after shoulder surgery, so he took on the planning. Of course you would think the obvious cities would be Rome, Cairo, Athens, Montezuma, GA. But really, so many names come from so many places. Of Europe. Since my friend doesn't run down the obvious path the first route he gave me, that was a day ride, covered Smyrna, Winston, Ithica, Bremen, Bowdon, and Fairburn. The other choice was a three day ride covering most of the state.

Now, I've heard of a couple of these international places...but Smyrna?? Fairburn?? I wasn't planning this shindig, so I'm not going to worry about it. I'm just along for the ride.
We figured the counter clockwise route was the way to go. We would get the speed up and the slab portion of the day out of the way and we could enjoy the back roads at the end. So Smyrna was our first stop.


Even though this wasn't my ride, I was the one elected to lead. I originally led us to a regular Public Library sign that wasn't plagued by vehicles passing by every few seconds. Invalid boy wasn't satisfied with that, so he went to find this one. We had the enjoyment of running up the sidewalk to park in front of the sign. We also had the difficulty of balancing the camera on a fire hydrant, set the timer, get across the street and dodge cars blocking the photos. Needless to say we were here for awhile. I'm happy the police weren't around.

Next on our itinerary was Winston. I didn't have much hope for a formal city. So many places here a merely bumps in the road. So I immediately made a u-turn for the Post Office with the official Winston name.


This was an easy one that didn't take any time. We were there and gone again in the blink of an eye.

The next city wasn't going to be so accommodating. Ithica.

If you read the rules you will see the first problem right off the bat. Our Ithica vs Greece's Ithaca. The cities need to be spelled the same. Therefore ours wasn't going to work. Unfortunately we didn't realize that until we had already ridden down the roads searching for an official sign for Ithica. Good thing there wasn't one. But now we were going to have to find another city on our route.

Our next stop was a more identifiable Bremen. Bremen I could handle. I would much prefer it be the one that is more well known though. Approaching town there is a great "Welcome to Bremen" city sign. However, it was on a major road with only an embankment to ride up. And the police officer turning behind us probably wouldn't appreciate us blocking traffic. I decide to just get to city center and we can discuss it, when this shows up. How fortuitous.


Forward Ho! Just a few miles down the road is the city of Bowdon. Oilburner seems to be flauting his use of the handicapped spot. Which really has an eldery gentleman perturbed when he came to pay his water bill. I think standing around and chatting with us helped calm him down. Then he realized this was Saturday and the office wasn't open at all.


Next stop is Fairburn. Invalid boy seems to remember the city name growing in the bushes somewhere. So apparently that means it is my job to find it. Find it I did!


This was also the location where I took the little GS off the curb! Rebel me. Quite daring. hehehe. Oilburner had blocked me in and thought I wouldn't have the guts to go forward. Looks like it was him without the guts.

Our last city idea was Hampton. But first it was getting late and we need food!!


Good ole BBQ.

A little too much time was spent eating and gabbing. We hit the road knowing full well we were pushing the clock to reach Hampton before sundown.


Yeah. I know what you are thinking. It didn't happen. So not only are we trying to photograph our last city in the dark, the only good place is the police station. And without a tripod the only way to really get it all in is to ride up the sidewalk and park in front of the sign. Luckily the police took pity on us and didn't give us a problem.

Update. I wasn't able to submit everything through the website. Kept giving me errors even though the images were tiny.

I also had the chance to speak with a US Riders News representative at the M/C show last weekend. She confirmed that the magazine does have to be present. So now this little tour won't receive official recogition. :(

We're just going to have to hit the road again and do a little more International Touring.

Hope you are able to get out and have some, two wheels or otherwise.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Night of Danger

I could have died! I could have died...and Oilburner was wandering around less than 100 feet away. He was oblivious to my screams for help. Oblivious or intentionally ignoring me. I will reserve my opinion for now.

I was in the garage and trapped by my bikes. Oilburner had walked away without a second thought as to my well being.

I was trapped with the only option being to spend the night there hollering my foolish head off or hurting both of my bikes. Apparently I was opting for the foolish. Come hell or high water I wasn't hurting my bikes if I didn't have to.

What happened, you ask? For a first, after pulling into the garage, Oilburner closed the garage door. Closed the door before the bikes were completely put up. He had dismounted and rushed into the house, taking care of the alarm. I wasn't in danger yet, and this was just standard operating procedure.

I sat there enjoying the bike under my butt, while slowly removing my gloves and helmet. I easily rested the helmet on the mirror of my other bike. The problem now rears its ugly head. I put the kickstand down, begin to lean the bike over, and bam...right into the saddlebags on the R12R. This wasn't going to work.

With the garage door down I was limited in how much I could maneuver the GS. I look a quick shot and tried to execute a 9 point sashay with the GS to move it a little farther away from the R.

Nope. Not enough. I sit there for a second and wonder where the hell Oilburner is?? He's normally right back in the garage polishing his bike. I make a quick holler but hear nothing indicating he might have heard me.

I take stock. I don't have the Flass2Pass on the GS. So I can't open the garage door. I can't reach the key on the R to get its opener working. As I am pondering I hear the front door open. What??

I take my chances and make another 9 point sideslip. Better. I can lean the bike farther, but still no luck in landing it all the way on the sidestand.

What is this? Where is Oilburner??

I start screaming my fool head off a lot louder. Oilburner finally comes running.

He takes a gander at my predicament and just about doubles over laughing. I wasn't as amused. He opens the garage door so I can finallly maneuver the bike enough...and I promptly attempt to set the GS on the side stand...without actually making use of the sidestand. At least Oilburner was there for that one.

The mess gets sorted out. I am finally able to dismount with both of my bikes intact. My pride isn't quite so lucky. I'm still screaming, for different reasons now, to find out that Oilburner had wandering around disrobing of his riding gear, actually plugging his helmet in, sauntering down to the mailbox and picking up the days offerings. All while I am in grave danger.

Wait. Strike that. I didn't almost die. But if Oilburner keeps up the snickering...he might.