Ride boldly, Lad, fear not the
spills! (From "The Man From Snowy River," by Banjo Paterson)
I'm not the man I used to think I was.
"Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!"
(William Butler Yeats)
For a looong discussion on motorcyling in general and Adventure riding in particular, see the archives (or scroll down) for
the first post on September 28, 2006.
It gives some opinions and ideas, along with a bit of philosophy; one (old) man's view of the world of 2 wheels.
|New Scooter---2014 R1200RT
|Cap'n Ron in the Straits of Georgia
Saturday, April 12, 2008
STAR 2008, Continued
1:29 pm mdt
I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday riding some of the local roads on routes suggested by the Texas volunteers who hosted
the event. I rode alone, as most of the people in attendance split off into their cliques and pairs, riding largely in groups.
As noted earlier, people were friendly, and I am sure I would have been welcome in any group, but the fighter pilot in me
comes to the fore on a bike, and I prefer solo riding to joining a group of unknowns. I must say, however, that the group
as a whole was what I would deem experienced, and I encountered no one on the road that I would be uncomfortable traveling
I was scheduled to give a seminar on Wednesday morning, entitled: "Iron Butt: No Country For Old Men?"
I did not know what to expect for attendance, and was not surprised when only 6 or 7 showed up. I approached it from the standpoint
of safety and minimizing fatigue, and the participants seemed interested and knowledgable. No one had done an Iron Butt 48
Plus, but one gentleman had participated in the Iron Butt Rally twice. It is held every other year, and is so popular that
entrants are limited to a drawing. This last year, I believe they covered something like 11000 miles in 11 days, and that
puts a 48 Plus in the "easy" category.
The seminar was informative to me as well as some of the guys who attended,
and I hope they did not come away feeling they had wasted their time.
Following the seminar, I headed tor the local
sponsoring bike shop for a new rear tire, which they put on in next to no time. This shop was Destination Sports, a Yamaha
and Suzuki dealer, who, incidentally, made available a Yamaha FJR 1300 for raffle. I am not sure if it was a donation, or
if they gave it at cost, but it was a highlight prize, won by a non-attendee from West Virginia.
New tire installed,
I took off toward Medina and Rock Springs for a jaunt of a couple of hundred miles on the two laned roads that abound thereabouts.
I called it a day at around 1500. Heavy hail was forecast as a clear possibility, and Destination Sports had graciously offered
to garage our bikes for the night, but it was well over a mile from there to the hotel, and some of us elected to pull our
scooters into the breezeways out of the danger of hail damage.
The evening banquet was pleasant and not too long, and
I enjoyed it. I forgot to mention that on Tuesday, while stopped in Luckenbach for the group lunch there, I ran into a fellow
I used to know at the airline. I was sitting across from him, and he looked familiar, but I could not place him until I finally
asked where we might have met, and he introduced himself as Terry Johnson, who had come to fly out of Phoenix shortly after
the Republic merger. I don't think we ever flew together, but the more we talked, the more I recalled him. He now is retired
(4 years) and living in Tucson. He and his wife came down to Kerrville in a motor home, with their sport bikes in the "garage"
in the back of the RV.
Thursday morning dawned, and I got ready to go, only to find that my bike was blocked by a Honda
ST with the front lock on so it could not be moved out of the way. I would have tried to move it had the thing been locked
in a left turn, as much as I deplore putting my mitts on someone else's ride. I cooled my heels for 30 or so minutes until
a guy who knew the bike came along and called the fellow's room. He scurried down to move it, and I was on my way by 0745.
was damp, having rained (but not hailed) heavily during the night, for the first 50 or so miles, and then the wind began.
It blew out of the north-northwest good and hard all the way to just west of Lordsburg, New Mexico, and knocked my mileage
into the high twenties. I found myself having to stop every 120 miles or so just to be sure I got gas before running out.
I could have pressed it farther, but was unsure of the availability of service, so took the riskless choice and stopped too
soon instead of too late. This blow was reminiscent of Patagonia, but still not in that class by a good 20 or 30 knots.
The freeway speeds in Texas are posted at 80 MPH, and I locked the speed control right on the limit for most of the
day. I often choose plus 10, but at my age, 80 (GPS speed, therefore accurate) is fast enough. And, that speed combined with
the vicious headwind was enough to force those annoying extra gas stops. 90 MPH would have cut another 5 MPG off, and I would
have had even more had I gone that fast.
Traffic was very light, there being many more semis on the road than cars,
except in close to the urban areas. I made very good time, and decided to push for Phoenix rather than stop for the night
as I had promised my Dear Wife. I pulled into Phoenix at 1930 (MST, or 2130 CDT) for a time of 13 hours, 45 minutes on a distance
of 928 GPS miles. Average speed for the trip, start to finish: 67.48 MPH. Distance for the entire trip: 3200 miles,
give or take. Good ride, and Mein Schottzie ran well and true. That is one comfortable ride, and although it makes a wuss
out of me, it is continuing to spoil me.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Finally, Another Ride To Somewhere...
9:38 pm mdt
After another long hiatus, I took another trip of note. Last Spring I joined the Honda Sports Touring Association, mostly
out of courtesy to the editor of their monthly magazine, as he had invited me to do an article about my 48 Plus ride.
and I met for dinner here in Phoenix a couple of times, and he said I should try to make it to the HSTA national rally to
be held in Kerrville, Texas in April, and so I did.
It was scheduled for April 6, 7, 8, 9, so I left Phoenix on
Friday, the 4th so I could make it a leisurely trip on the way down. I rode up to Heber and Show Low, then to Alpine, and
took US 191 down to Morenci. This road is rife with lots of splendid curves and some great views (if you ride slow enough
to look at them). It is still sometimes remembered as "The Devils's Highway," a reference to its previous designation
as US Route 666 (the sign of the Devil). I had not been over this route for many years, and it was as enjoyable as I remembered.
joined Interstate 10 at Lordsburg, New Mexico, and made it to Deming while there was still daylight.
The next day I
stayed on the interstate until Van Horn, Texas, and then took US 90 through Alpine, Marathon, Langtry, and Del Rio. I was
stationed there at Laughlin AFB 52 (could it be that long ago?) years ago, and now recognize nothing about the town. There
was a Pizza joint/bar there in those days that brings back many fond memories (whatever became of Anna?), I couldn't locate
it or where it had been.
On Sunday morning, I headed for Rock Springs, and veered off over some local two lanes that
provided plenty of unique turns and roller coaster ups and downs, before arriving at the Y O Ranch Hotel about 1430
where rally central was to be located.
There were already several hundred cyclists (I prefer not to call them
"bikers" due to the Hell's Angels connotation of that term) thereabouts, riding all manner of bikes. Contrary
to the name Honda in the association's title, cyclists of all makes and models are welcomed into the club, and I would
have to guess that non-Hondas outnumber the H riders. There were lots of Beemers, Kawasakis, Suzukis, KTMs, Ducattis, Triumphs,
and Buells. There were sports bikes, cruisers, and touring bikes, F650s (more Beemer), Gold Wings, and cafe racers. I spotted
at least one "trike" but never did see a bike with a side car. A surprising number of them came in the back of pick
up trucks or on trailers. I guess sport touring does not necessarily mean distance riding.
Riders were largely older
people, but there was a sprinkling of thirties and forties, and at least one teen-ager. Some couples rode two-up, and some
of the women rode their own machines. I was gratified to see no one without a helmet, and everyone I saw wore protective riding
gear out on the roadways. It was a good group, and people were quite friendly and congenial. The oldest person there was 89,
and this was the first time in 25 annual rallies that he did not ride his own motorcycle, due to some recent vision problems.
He is quite a role model, one that gives all of us youngsters hope.
For future use