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
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Check Off One More Christmas
9:24 pm mst
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Evening. It looks like another Christmas is about to slide into history. It has been a
pleasant day here—-sunshine, temperature reached 60, and there was no snow to shovel! This is THE time of year here
in the Great Sonoran Desert. It is just cool enough in the early hours to make a light coat comfortable, but not what one
would call “cold.”
We had a nice day at friends’ house for dinner, which was excellent, elegant,
and very convivial. Merry Christmas!
So, 2018 is also about to slide down the ways and into the history books, or blogs,
or whatever medium will contain the records of what were current events. And those records and analyses will be, as always,
subject to the diligence, curiosity, honesty, prejudice and emotion, all of which make history more of a story or a tale than
an accurate and complete historical veritude. I think the year we are about to abandon will be remembered in mostly negative
terms and moods And rightly so! No matter what one’s political preference might be, I will wager that all sides would
agree that presently things are messed up, and it is likely that any attempt to objectively view 2018 is bound to fail because
of the frail humans who will make that attempt. So, in a sense, the history of a certain period is actually a tale of the
past that is fraught with emotion, bias, inaccuracies, faulty memories, and some amount of imagination. But, the account often
makes good reading, and is entertaining.
Let us hope that 2019 is a better year, and that it comes out well for us all.
Saturday, December 22, 2018
The Ride Home, Days 6 & 7
9:08 pm mst
Day 6, Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Bidding adios to Van Horn, my next goal was Bisbee, Arizona, which was a bit off
the most direct route to Scottsdale, but it took me off of the interstate and to the vicinity of the Mexican Border to one
of Arizona’s former copper centers. Bisbee was big in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, when copper
was king. It survives today by capturing the essence of a mining town and times long gone, now mining the pockets of the tourists
who flock there (in season).
I pulled in there
about 1400, after an uneventful 400 miles, most of which were at cool low-40s temperatures. I took a room for the night at
The Inn At Castle Rock, a very funky hotel that epitomizes what we expect those years to look like. Dinner that evening at
The Copper Queen Hotel, where I had one of the best filet mignon steaks I have ever had, accompanied by a glass of $12 French
Sauvignon Rouge—-not bad wine, but wasted on the likes of me—-they all taste pretty much the same to me, having
just taken up an occasional libation after 32 years of teetotalling. I have decided that I may be old enough to handle alcohol
wisely. I was one of only two diners that evening, and indication of the slow times in town at this time of the year. Lucí,
my Filipina waitress said that she has been told that things pick up after the New Year. It is a picturesque little burg,
and I was glad to revisit it.
Day 7, Wednesday, December 12, 2018.
I planned to ride to Globe, then Roosevelt
Dam, and down the Apache Trail to Tortilla Flat (22 miles of dirt and gravel, giving the bike a chance to perform off pavement),
but somehow got cross-ways with my GPS and had to abort the Apache Trail portion and head for home from Globe due to impending
When stopped for gas a few miles short of Globe, I realized that I didn’t’ have my phone. I unpacked
my IPad and exercised the “Find My Phone” App. Bingo! It showed the phone at The Inn At Castle Rock! I pushed
the option that sounded the phone, and supplied whoever had the phone to call my dear wife’s cell #. Then I texted her
that a call should be coming from Bisbee to get the address of where to send the phone.
I arrived home in Scottsdale
at 1600, safe and sound. Another successful bike trip—-No One Got Hurt!
I love this bike!
Friday, December 21, 2018
The Ride Home: Days 4 & 5
8:22 pm mst
Day 4. Sunday, December 9 2018.
I missed the most direct route to Austin while in the freeway maze of the Houston
system, so continued on Interstate 10 until Texas 71, which cut straight to Austin. Arrived there, found a nice Holiday Inn
Express Hotel fairly close to the medical supply where I hoped to get replacement nose piece for my travel CPAP.
ride was uneventful, although cool until approaching Austin—-41 degrees t the onset, close to 55 arriving. Traffic was
fairly light, and I made good time—-480 miles in 9:45.
Day 5, Monday, December 10, 2018.
I got to the medical
supply by 0900, got the nose piece, and was on the road west by 1015. I took US 29 until it intersected I-10 near Junctrion,
Texas. I had not refueled in Austin, so stopped in Fredericksburg (about 75 miles) for gas. The fuel stops along this route
in Western Teas are not close together, and this little 800 CC engine winds up pretty tight at Freeway speeds (80 MPH limit
on select Texas freeways)——6000 RPMs or a smidge above. On this day they were not ideal—-upwards of 45 MPG.
instant MPG readings on the first leg out of Austin were in the mid to low 30s, mainly due to a quartering headwind. I estimate
the component at about a 15 knot direct headwind. Distance from Fredericksburg to Fort Stockton is 260 miles. With my burns
running well below 40 MPG, it was clear that I would have to gas up well before Ft. S. Did I mention that the tiger
has a 5 gallon tank? At 153 miles (Dist. from Fredericksburg), even Ozona was becoming a stretch. I could chance it at 80MPH,
risking running out, slow down, or stop short for gas. The only stop between Fredicksburg and Ozona is Junction, a mere
62 miles. So, not wishing to run out nor to slow down, I stopped in Junctiion. After Junction, it would be another impossible
leg; 199 miles go Fort Stockton, so I opted to stop in Ozona; 92 miles. Whew! After Ozona, it is 226 to Van Horn, so I made
the 92 miles from Ozona to Ft. Stockton. Then, finally, I could make it from Fort Stockton to Van Horn without range anxiety—-120
miles. And Whew! Again! This pointed out the difference between my R1150 GSA. my R1200RT, and this Tiger, range-wise. The
two Beemers can make 250-300 miles between fuel stops easily, wind or no wind.
It emphasizes the need for a safe way
to carry external auxiliary fuel on the Tiger. I am working on that, and think I have a workable solution, to be discussed
on a later post.
Van Horn enjoys several good motel/hotel choices, and I found a Hampton Inn on the western outskirts
with a suitable restaurant within walking distance (about a mile one-way).
Day 6 tomorrow, and Bisbee, Arizona the
Thursday, December 20, 2018
The Ride Home, Continued: Day Two
3:36 pm mst
Saturday, December 8th, 2018. Dried out, well-rested, and full of breakfast, I hit the road for Austin. I had carelessly
left the nose mask to my portable CPAP in Diamond Head, but a bit of internet searching found a medical supply company in
Austin that stocked the right appliance, and I figured that I could swing by on Monday and pick it up before launching westward
once again. The rain had moved on east, and the only minor travel condition of note was temperatures in the low 40s; 41 when
I got on the road. Found a Holiday Inn Express Hotel just a few miles from the medical supply company. Distance for the day:
480 uneventful miles.
The Ride Home, Continued
12:49 pm mst
Friday, December 7th: Up and at ‘em early, to get to Delta General Offices for that retired employee I.D.
done, the time was 10:00, and rain threatened, so I found my way to I-85 toward Montgomery, Alabama, 160 miles down the road.
At Montgomery, a slight left turn took me toward Mobile via US 65, after which I was on I-10 and headed west and home.
forecast nasty weather seemed to be behind me, but a new storm was forecast approaching through Texas and along the Gulf Coast.
At least I was out of the forecast freezing temperatures.
I stopped for the evening in Diamond Head (Who knew?) Mississippi,
for a 413 mile day.
The next morning, Saturday, December 8, I checked the forecast, and it was not nice. Heavy rain
due in Houston, Beaumont, Baton Rouge—-all along the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coast, with flash flood warnings.
So, with some trepidation, I loaded the Tiger, as it began to rain hard, and rode back onto the I-10, and into the teeth of
some steady and moderate rain.
By around 11:30 I had been on the road for four hours, and stopped in Hammond, LA for
some breakfast. Once inside and un-coated, I realized for the first time that I was very wet from the waist up. My vaunted
Transit Suit leather jacket had let me down as it let liquid sunshine through. I had not felt wet because I had my electric
heated jacket and glove plugged in and turned on, and the warmth belied the wet.
Discretion sometimes prevails, even
in a stubborn little old man: I called it a day and found a motel, arriving the several blocks from my IHOP breakfast stop
in what was then a driving rain. As much as I hated to waste the better part of a riding day, I acknowledged that to continue
under the wet conditions I then enjoyed was true folly and asking for some kind of unpleasant incident, not to mention another
several hours of wet, soggy wet riding. So, that was a mere 150 mile day, one of my shortest “trip” days since
Next stop: Austin, Texas.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Neglect Is A Terrible Thing
9:40 pm mst
Yes, and the neglect that I have allowed on this site of mine is indeed terrible, but of course, Sloth is one of The Seven
Deadly Sins, and we are all sinners, this old man being no exception.
By way of atonement, I can only promise
to expend more attention and effort to this humble enterprise.
I just returned Wednesday last (December 12, 1018) from
a trip to Simpsonville, South Carolina, where I purchased a very slightlly used 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 XRX motorcycle. Simpsonville
is a small community just outside Greenville, SC. My former sailing mentor, RJ located this scooter on Cycle Trader, and recommended
that I try the Tiger 800 as a lighter and more easily handled “Dual Purpose” bike than my old standby, Der Klunkenschiffter
which has carried me so faithfully for so many happy and a few not so charming miles. I have been forced to admit that the
ravages of time have taken some of the vitality from my bones and that I should find myself a more easily piloted ride. Hence,
why not the Tiger? This was tricked out with many appealing farkles, in addition to which it was the ‘Low” version
with a 29” seat, just right for my 31’ inseam. It is not only low enough for me to straddle it flat-footed, but
is a full 164 pounds lighter than the Beemer.
I must admit that as time has galloped along, I have become increasingly
uncomfortable on that big GSA, and reluctant to go off the pavement in areas seldom traveled, because when the inevitable
strikes and she goes down on a side, I am very hard-pressed to get her back on the rubber. It happens maybe one out of four
time that I can exert enough remaining leg power to “getter done.”
So, I boarded Delta—-full
fare no less—-and flew east. I probably needn’t say how painful it is for a once airline pilot to pay full fare.
Those in the know regarding said pilotos are fully aware of the “cheap” phenomenon that accompanies nearly all
of we Sky Gods. But, I sucked it up and paid the price.
Here i must interject that my experiences with Delta since they
absorbed NWA have been without exception excellent, and this trip east was no different. We did depart PHX an hour or so late,
but Pax were notified by text and by e-mail well in advance of scheduled departure. Ticket purchase online is painless and
check-in at the airport is a dream. I transferred in Atlanta, a very imposing terminal for the inexperienced trraveler, but
quite efficient and easy once the intimidation of multiple wings, underground train and gate that can be training grounds
for marathoners becomes familiar.
I made the connection to GSP with time to spare, rode the 50 minutes in the
last seat of an MD88 (no real complaint here, but not my first choice), and by the time I got to baggage and located a luggage
cart (not free—-Boo!), my large duffle containing my leather riding suit, tank bag, heated jacket liner and gloves,
riding boots, changes of clothes, extra tie down straps, long johns, and sundry was ready for my departure to my hotel for
the evening. So far, so good.
The next morning, after a nice hotel breakfast buffet, the very gracious seller, Mr. KW
arrived to pick me up. The bike was exactly as he had advertised—-and more. It had these advertised farkles: Touratech
Zega Pro side and top panniers—-top of the line and not cheap—-engine guards, OEM running lights, Ram Mount for
GPS, including cradle for Garmin-BMW Navigator V GPS (I bit another bullet and bought a new one—-$900+). In addition,
he had put on Bark Buster hand guards and Touratech pannier liners for all three panniers. Before I rode off into the sunset
he threw in a nearly new bike cover!
We conducted our business without incident, and after I discovered that I had
lugged the wrong tank bag, Mr. W. took me down to FedEx to ship the bag and some other superfluous items back to PHX. Mr.
W. was as I said, very gracious; a straight shooter and a gentleman in the best sense of the word.
for the area were not calling for balmy clime, and i beat it out of town at 1315, bound for I-85 and Atlanta. MY GPS did not
work, and I milled around Greater Atlanta for an hour or so before locating a decent motel not far from the Delta General
Offices, where I would secure a new Retired ID the following day (Friday, December 7). It took nearly an hour of stop-and-go
to negotiate through downtown ATL. Traffic is choking the cities and some of the smaller municipalities to death. Said GPS
worked well once I put the battery in! Duh!
This Tiger 800 is a nice replacement for the R1150 GSA Beemer. It winds
up pretty tight a freeway speeds—-a smidge over 6000 RPM at 80 MPH (GPS speed; 85 on the speedo), but there are RPMs
to spare, and it is still well below topping out the torque band. It has an excellent cruise control, although the TFT display
on the instrument panel is non-intuitive. I took me over a thousand miles to figure out some settings, including resetting
the clock. Due to that complication, I failed my usual almost compulsive record keeping: MPG, miles per day, per the
Odo and the GPS. After about 1600 miles and a conversation via phone with RJ back in San Diego, I figured out that the wind
screen is adjustable up and down with just quick flick of the wrists (while stopped, for safety).
More on this pleasant
trip next time...
For future use