I Do Not Want To Die

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Retired-N-Roamin, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. Retired-N-Roamin

    Retired-N-Roamin Retired and Roamin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    NorCal - for a while longer... Then?
    Right up front. I do not want to die. Period. Full stop.

    Well, we all will, but today I'd prefer that day to be far into the future! Years! Decades!

    But it's a catchy thread title, huh?

    Maybe aliens will appear and offer a healthy extended life for an x-number of years of indentured servitude. Hell, I'd take it, I think.

    I do not want to die. But the possibility exists that I'll meet a premature end in some violent manner. Why's that you may ask? Well, I'm documenting these various dangerous undertakings on an international motorcycle adventure forum and that means that I ain't gonna be roller skating on the sidewalk.

    Given that, I'll accept and manage the risks as best I can with each situation. But fair warning, it may be my son that comes here to file the final report. I can only hope he'd be a bit eloquent with his 'he didn't make it' post. But that's for the future – or not.

    As I write this in late July 2015, I've got some obligations that take precedence, but we're doing a fly-n-ride the second week of August. I bought this:

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    Nice looking bike, huh?

    So here's the hook for this entire on-going ride report.

    I'm promising, 'x my heart 'cause I'll be dead', to document my return to MC riding after a really serious crash 25 months ago. You'll not only get a correctly exposed and in-focus (most of the time) series of photos, but you get some commentary on what it feels like. Am I scared to the point where I can't do it? Can I conquer my fears and enjoy the experience again? Will my healed body take it? Will another bozo car driver get me again? Dunno. That's what we're gonna document.


    Why this one? Why a fly-n-ride?

    First, it's a gorgeous bike that hasn't been abused and thrashed. As you can see, it's nicely farkled, but not overdone with every possible trinket. It's got very low miles for a 2003 model year, only 43k-ish. Finally, a most excellent price!

    Why a fly-n-ride? 1) 'Cause I'm here and it's there and 2) why not? Besides, this will be 3) sink or swim in as benign traffic environment as I can think of – Albuquerque to Sacramento, across NW New Mexico, in to Utah's SE corner, then across southern Utah, hitting all the national parks for a look-see, then exiting Utah out through Zion NP and cutting across Nevada in the middle of August to Lee Vining, and then – depending on how the body is holding up and what my mental state is, I might try Kings Canyon and Yosemite as I'd been forced by circumstance to skip them in 2012. But again, those last two are a strictly, we'll see when we get there kinda deal-e-o.

    So if you're looking for a 'he-man, dat dude toughed it out without a whimper' sorta ride report, or, one where it's all about 'went there, done that, bought the t-shirt, now what's the next tick in the check box', sorta thing, this one is not one to subscribe to.

    This RR is a coming out party and I'm inviting you along to see whether it's a great party or a dud. I want great. I'm planning great. I'm working toward great, but let's see what we see in the coming weeks.


    I'll admit right here at the beginning that I'm using this RR as incentive to actually go and do. I'll expand this from time to time if there's interest in why.



    Only & Final Warning: You get a diary of me. My thoughts, my feelings, my fears, the good, the bad and definitely the ugly. And I ain't gonna confine my blabberings to be just a place by place travel log. I'm intending to write about the experience – all of it, philosophy, politics and religion included. I do however promise there'll be no bible quotes. So if you're offended by folks that freely think beyond what some media personality tells you to think, (we're commonly called liberals by many on the cultural and religious far right) this ain't gonna be an RR you'll enjoy. Guaranteed that I'll write something that will piss you off to your very core. So please, if you can't resist the urge from your reptilian brain to make a disparaging comment, just move on to something that gives you some pleasure to view.

    That said, if you're even a little like me and enjoy trying to see something from a different point of view, even if you don't agree with the core philosophy, then this might be worthy of a subscription. That question is one only you can answer.

    There's a lot of open road – 1250-ish miles – twixt there and here. That's lots of time to think and ponder not only what our eyes gathered light from, but how our brain processes and interprets that sensory input. It'll be interesting to see how that all turns out.

    So we're gonna chronicle this fly-n-ride trip as the beginning of (what we hope is) a long and wonderful association with this scoot. But I'm in no hurry to get anywhere fast, so the pace will be leisurely and the pauses many. There'll be some great scenery documented and y'all will know not too long after I do whether resuming riding is a doable thing or not. I'm working toward doable, but let's find out if I keep the bike and ride it or sell it soon after returning to Sacramento.

    No, my name isn't Bill or Ted, but I will have some excellent adventures. Maybe even meet a modern day SoCrates or two.

    Wanna come along? Click 'Watch This Thread' and let's explore together.
    #1
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  2. Retired-N-Roamin

    Retired-N-Roamin Retired and Roamin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    NorCal - for a while longer... Then?
    Why?

    Here's some of that philosophy stuff that I mentioned in post #1.


    The #1 reason is that I'm gonna die soon – too damn soon given my druthers. It might be 25-30 years from today. Maybe, like my brother, a stroke will blow my brain away. Maybe it'll be my heart takin' a dump again. Maybe it'll be another bozo in a cage causing a crash. Who knows. Who cares. It'll be too damn soon in any case.

    No, I've not got an operating crystal ball that sees into the future. No, there are no immediate health issues that I am aware of. No, I've got no premonition that some specific bad thing is gonna happen. But I've been dead – well, sorta – and I'm back and enjoying life way too much to want to end it all too soon. See the friendly aliens line in my first post and you'll get an idea of how I feel about living as opposed to the sucky alternatives.

    So why am I writing this RR as a diary at the start to what I hope will be an epic and on-going ride report? Truly? 'Cause I wanna give back to the ADV community of people that have documented their rides. Even during the bleakest days of the past couple of years, I could come to ADV and read about people out living life and not being restrained by their body's capabilities.

    Beyond that inspiration is the simple fact that thousands of folks post about their experiences here on ADV and provide tips and an education for noobs like me. I'm a firm believer that a smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Perhaps I'll not make too many mistakes that will help other folks be wise. That's the goal anyway.

    I stipulate that there's dozens – maybe thousands – of folks reading & posting here on ADVRider that are physically much worse off than I was, that are out there, doing 'stuff'. But this is my story and if I can be just 10% as inspiring to someone suffering from physical limitations to get up and try again, then the time devoted to writing this (hopefully) epic tale will be reward enough.

    I want to give a specific shout out here to three chroniclers – Radioman, Lost Rider and LittleWan.

    My darkest days post crash had sparks of light in them because of you three. And I hope that I can be as faithful posting regularly as they were.

    And if, over the coming months, you, my readers, are not too mean, (or my skin is thick enough,) and instead y'all are a little bit supportive of my fledgling literary efforts, we might get a tale worthy of a beer belch or two. Let's see where this all goes. Yeah, I've been told that I can turn a phrase here and there. So let's see what becomes what, eh?

    And fair's fair to warn ya right now from the git-go that this is not gonna be a RTW by an old man too stoopid to quit. Well, maybe the stoopid (and yes, that's a deliberate mis-spelling) part is true. But I've no intention to do any 'epic' stuff. Those fortunate enough to want to do those epic rides are... well, they make movies and stuff outta those sorts of things don't they?

    My epic rides will be little ones methinks. Probably won't be a Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia amongst mine. Yours? Go for it. But I'm gonna focus a bit smaller.

    Let's define epic. For me, YMMV of course, epic is where the adventure begins. It's attitude & preparation meeting opportunity and execution. For me, an epic trip may be a week's circuit around NorCal. Or 10 days on 101 from LA to Port Angeles. Or out to Alabama Hills in winter. Or Zion in April. A GIANT epic ride would be cross-country and back.

    Nope. What we've got beginning here is planned as an ongoing thread that chronicles my rides, observations, trials and tribulations, as just an ordinary joe doing the best he can with what's available for resources. Making memories for the coming time in the rockin' chair at the old folks home.

    I can see it now, there's a half dozen of us are sitting in a sunny atrium reminiscing about 'back then'. Well, without pics it really didn't happen did it? Same-o same-o. Their stories are just fanciful BS, but I can pull up the ADV forums and show 'em! See, I really did jump the Snake River Canyon in a rocket! Oh, that wasn't me? Drat. Well, moving right along...

    Not that I really wanted to before ya see, but today I do not want to die because I'm pain free for the first time in over 2 years. And I am feeling great! I'm feeling as good as I have since before my heart attack in 2003. Today, for me, age is just a number and I do not feel anywhere close to that number (64 & ¾ as I write this in late July 2015).

    Oh, don't you dare to sneer and snort. There's a series of chronic health issues – that are all 'under control' at this present time. I won't give any gory details, but any one of the issues could end up being the proximate cause of my final demise. There's a more than several potentials, and three 'fer sure ta get'cha' when they go bad deals going on inside of me. But they're all in abeyance right now. I've got a clean bill of health from 90% of the checks, to, as the docs put it, go and do to tolerance – but I've still to schedule that dammed colonoscopy though. Shite, I hate the preparation for these every 3 year deals. But colon cancer is a deal breaker as far as lots and lots and lots of riding is concerned. So, keep on my butt please if I haven't got this done by mid-September.


    Pain free.

    It's an amazing feeling.

    I hurt today because of sore muscles that I'm exercising the heck outta in preparation for resuming riding after a two year hiatus that is the result of a serious crash. No, no, not an accident. Some bozo in a cage made an illegal u-turn and I t-boned 'em at about 45 miles an hour. A classic case of head in ass and usin' the ol' excuse, the 'sun was in my eyes and I didn't see him'. He, a $255 minor traffic infraction, cited for an illegal u-turn, and me, a $400,000 (retail) medical bill that was settled for pennies on the dollar by the insurance companies.

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    Nice bike huh? Yep. Was. Scrap now. Photos from early 2013 and late 2012 at A&S cycle in Roseville.

    This is the only photo that I have actually out-n-about. Shame that.
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    Anyway, I woke up, 10-12 minutes after impact with the EMT's cutting my AGATT off, complaining that my back hurt. Actually, the pelvis was in four (4) distinct pieces with seven (7) total fractures. Two weeks in the hospital. Two months in the corner of my sons living room with a stainless steel & carbon fiber 'device' screwed into the hip bones, holding the whole thing together as the fractures knit over the 72 days (10 weeks) it was on me.

    Here's a cropped photo of the X-Ray from 6 months after the crash - taken December 2013. Yes, the screws are permanent and still in place.
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    Then, learning to actually walk again was another struggle. That process took several months until I could do more than a few hundred yards before the pain became overwhelming. I kept pushing the limits that my body set. Slow, but sure. As the weeks and months added up, more and more and more movement was possible without the pain becoming too much and requiring a rest.

    I made pretty rapid physical progress for the first 12 months after the crash. The body healed 'decently', not back to pre-crash condition fer sure, as there's some residual movement limitations, some minor nerve damage and 'other' undiagnosed and untreated internal injuries that have stolen my... ahem, ability, if you get the drift. Yeah, yeah. TMI. I know, I know, but it's part of the whole story so, while not important in the grand scheme of things, it's worthy of passing mention as that was a 'big deal' pre-crash – now, not so much. Yeah, sux to be me huh? As I said, lots of folks got it worse, so I'm not looking for any sympathy, just laying out the facts. 'Nuff said 'bout that. But, leaving that out, at the 12-14 month post crash time frame, I felt like I was in the area of 70% pre-crash endurance & ability.

    While the physical body healed, I was in doubt more than one time about the mental aspect. Would my fears overwhelm my desire to ride again? Seems that on many days the answer was yes. There's too many bozos on the road, zoomin' and cutting in and out of lanes, always in a hurry and f*ck the rest of the people using the same road. Way too many close calls witnessed to make me comfortable on another scoot. So... now, two years and a month on, I'm finally able to conquer these fears and buy another GS. Onward. Always onward.

    But, thankfully and with great humility, now at 25 months post crash, I am able to walk for 2-3 miles before a lower back ache sets in to the point where I've got to stop. As an addendum, a lumbar support belt (don't know the brand, had it since my early 50's manual labor days) gives great comfort there, enabling more endurance and that 2-3 miles of walking. And no, there's no magnets. I feel like, given the aforesaid undiagnosed damages, I'm physically at about 90% of pre-crash endurance and abilities. I hope that 90% of what I once was is good-e-nuff.

    Now the question is whether I'll be able to sit on an MC for hours and hours. There's lots of ways to make that more comfortable – and I'll probably try everything from an Airhawk, to a sheepskin pad to a custom seat in the quest for minimal pain. That's part of what I'll be chronicling here. Perhaps other folks can learn from what eventually works and what did not. Again, what's what is TBD.

    Exercising by lifting weights at home or in a gym has always been the bane of my existence. Up until my early 50's I stayed 'in shape' by doing skilled physical labor as a millwright in heavy industry.

    At home I split wood for the stove with a maul and wedge. Wrestled bales to feed cattle. Rode dirt bikes with the kids. Road bikes with my spouse on the pillion. I was in 'decent ' physical shape. Nope, no six-packs, except in the fridge, but not much of a 'love handle' either. My ancestors gifted me with a lean body that could eat lots without blowing up. I've always been the the neighborhood of 180 pounds (+/- 10), since I was 21 and I finished growing.

    Then it all went to hell when I went from being active at work to sitting in an office typing 'stuff' into a computer. And the gym? I still hate those places with a passion! Then. Now. Makes no difference. Those places are not for my skinny-framed, baldheaded, tall and still (sorta) lean body. Yeah, there's more belly fat than there should be. Yeah, the ass -what little there is- droops, but what the hay, 25 months after the crash – I can move with almost zero pain.

    Now, that statement is not 100% accurate. After all I am damn near 65 and I did spend most of my workin' life doing heavy physical labor in hazardous environmental conditions. I got some dings and scrapes that happen when yer working on repairing machines that might weight 70 tons or more. So, I'd say there's a moderate amount of the more normal 'wear-n-tear' that comes along with actually going and doing 'stuff' instead of sitting on yer butt, staring at a damn computer screen, hopin' n wishin'.

    So, there's pain that's a 'normal' part of aging. You've got 'em too. An ache here. A night cramp there, and no, I can't take more potassium for other health reasons.

    But post crash there were episodes of intense pain that brought tears to my eyes. I'm man enough to admit that. And man enough to admit that in the dark of the night I wept at the specter of the seemingly endless bleak days ahead.

    Folks, I'm a wimp. Again, freely admitted. Intense pain is not something that I easily handle. I know, I know. There's folks that live with intense chronic pain on a minute by minute basis. And I admire them for being able to just get on with living. I don't know how they do it. I suppose ya just do what ya gotta do. But damn, there's no fun to be had in that sort of continuous, intense, non-consensual nerve stimulation.

    Fortunately, time heals wounds. My body, from the 12 month mark until the 22 month mark, healed much more slowly. Progress was not readily apparent as it had been in the first 12-14 months post crash.

    The increments of improvement were smaller and seemingly much further between the noticeable improvements to my physical condition. But, there was progress. Sometimes it took sitting and thinking hard about specific situations. I can do this now, but I could not just 2-3 months ago. So not all was bleakness and woe. But if you're going through something similar, please know that you've got to focus on what's better and not on what's not yet healed. Find the positives. Don't dwell on the negatives. That's what helped keep me sane.

    Yeah, light workouts, yoga, stretching and walking lots and lots were the plan of the day for many months. And again, being upfront, the use of inhaled medicinal herbs was a god-send. This regime took the sharpness of the pain away and allowed movement and exercise without the feeling that someone had just jabbed me in the kidney with a the end of a riot baton or a taser. So... not all folks are fortunate to reside in a state with tolerant medical marijuana laws. I do not advocate breaking the law, especially in areas where harsh penalties are still enforced, but for me it was a tremendous help in getting completely healed. As always, YMMV.

    Now this narrative is sorta-kinda up to date. Lots of irrelevant details left out – but I've touched the high spots.


    Next, lessons learned from the crash.
    #2
  3. Retired-N-Roamin

    Retired-N-Roamin Retired and Roamin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    NorCal - for a while longer... Then?
    Doggie, WTF are ya doin' doggie?

    The crash occurred on a bright early summer day in late June 2013. See this thread.


    Lessons Learned

    We're now 25 months out from the crash as I write this in late July 2015.

    As you might imagine I've had ample opportunities to examine just WTF happened on that fateful day. What could I have done differently? Was the crash avoidable by some action of mine? Different equipment? Lights. Hi-viz clothing? Or was the universe just being its normal uncaring self and I was in the wrong spot at the wrong time?


    Number one lesson learned – don't watch the damn doggie on the side of the road.


    So the deal-e-o was this – there's (ironically) a wrecked car yard that hold auctions for damaged but rebuildable/repairable cars. The day of the crash there was an auction going on. A whole slew of disreputable looking folks were there buying wrecks to rehabilitate – you know, the ones that get a 'salvage' title. Anyway, there's a guy walking his doggie. The guy has a cigarette in his right hand – as I remember, about ½ way to his mouth from his waist – and his dog is off-leash and the doggie was dancing around, bouncing from leg to leg looking for a place to lift his leg. So frantic was this dog's actions, that he appeared like he might run out into the street.

    Well, he did not. And the last thing I remember – after hours and hours of searching what passes for my brain – was the thought that the asshat should have had his dog under better control and with that thought came my head moving back toward the front and re-focusing on the coming road.

    My next memory is the EMT's cutting off my ATGATT. See the previously mentioned thread for more details.

    Why was I watching the doggie? Well, in a previous life I rode a road bike to work – 14 miles one way on a high-speed country 2-lane – and as I made the transition from the slow neighborhood roads to the main road there was a dog that chased motorbikes. Nah, that dog did not chase cars & trucks, just two-wheelers, including bicycles. My son had his pant leg chewed once when he was 8 or 9 and I always watched out for that damned dog.

    So here's another doggie loose on the roadside and I, of course, watched the dog to ensure that he did not dart out into the road. Bad mistake that.

    Shoulda-coulda-woulda. I can't help but feel that if I'd had eyes front instead of focused on the loose dog, I MIGHT HAVE been able to avoid the bozo doing the illegal u-turn. Obviously I can't say, but it's certainly good speculation.

    So the first lesson is to pay attention to the entire situation – situational awareness – and instead of focusing on the dog, I should have let my peripheral vision deal with it. But, given the history of the damned dog in a previous life, I was looking at the wrong thing.

    Yeah, stoopid mistake. And I own it.


    Number two lesson. Lights. DO NOT DELAY getting bright lights on the front of the bike. I'd owned the bike for several months and had put off getting lights on it for lots of various reasons. They were on the todo list, but other stuff kept getting higher priority. Bad mistake. Bad, bad mistake. Shoulda-coulda-woulda. But not this time. My new scoot has some PIAA lights already installed and there'll be more ASAP. #1 priority as soon as the fly-n-ride is over.


    Number three lesson. No matter how matter how magical the ride was/is, pay attention, do not allow your mind to drift to things other than what's going on that exact moment. No thinking about what yer gonna do when you get to your destination. No rehash of the argument you had with your kid/girl/wife/boss. No thinking about the previous bozo that blew through the red light at the last intersection. None of that.


    FOCUS on the moment. Be there. Live this instant. Not in the future or past. FOCUS on now!

    Yep. Easier said than done. But I've found that since the crash it's easier to do than pre-crash. For me, situational awareness means keeping your eyes moving. Focus on the mirrors to be aware of what's behind. Glance at the speedo to ensure you're not significantly over or under speed. Look close ahead. Shift focus to medium distance ahead. Then focus several hundred yards ahead if you're in heavier traffic or even further if the sight lines allow it. Then repeat. NEVER get the blank stare I see on so many drivers faces as they are on autopilot.

    I'm positive there's more lessons, but these three are enough.


    Next, “The Plan”
    #3
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  4. propforward

    propforward PIE!romaniac

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    13,793
    Location:
    Central Minnesota
    Well you've got a lot of analysis going on there. Good analysis, too. Looking forward to reading more about the plan, and your successful fly and ride. The new bike looks like a beauty.
    #4
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  5. Jstrummer

    Jstrummer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    168
    Location:
    Central CT
    #5
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  6. PrkChps

    PrkChps Mirth Is King

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    192
    Location:
    New England - Underrated MC Paradise
    I wish you the best on your journey(s). Subscribed.
    #6
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  7. Retired-N-Roamin

    Retired-N-Roamin Retired and Roamin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    NorCal - for a while longer... Then?
    “The Big-Picture Plan”

    The big picture plan was never born whole – it evolved. So it takes a little bit to touch the high spots. I know, TL;DR. But it's background methinks that makes the current situation a bit more understandable.


    Once upon a time I was a grey cubicle dwelling office drone. Not so bad really as I was working as a technical writer and doing interesting stuff that kept the mind occupied.

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    And honestly, I was tired of heavy physical labor from the previous life. Too much summer heat and too damn much winter cold. Too many skinned knuckles. Too much exposure to toxic chemicals. Too many co-workers getting busted up in one way or another. Too many co-workers retiring and then dying too young after a 25-30 year working life at the plant. I had to get outta there – and did so way back in the late spring of 2001.

    Fast forward to the years between 2003 and 2012. I worked in the office of a medical device company. Good job-security and interesting work. But... in a damn grey cubicle farm with dozens of other cubicle dwellers. Not too inspiring of an environment.

    In late 2010 the then wife and I had yet another massive disagreement with the usual recriminations and shouting. She asked for a divorce and we proceeded as one does when splitting the sheets.

    “The Boss” at the office tried to take advantage of my personal situation – divorce – and she 'encouraged' me to work longer hours – bury my troubles in work she said. I resisted. For all of 2011 I resisted. 45 to 47 hours per week was enough I thought. And I truly believe that this resistance to more hours was a primary cause of my being 'selected' for redundancy in February 2012.

    But let's back up about 9 months to late spring 2011. It'd been 21 years since I last rode a scoot.

    After the divorce proceedings were all official, I wanted and needed to get out and live. Not just stare at the damned computer screen at work and hide from the San Antonio heat for 5 months a year.

    So I bought this – a new left-over Suzuki Boulevard C50. 805cc twin cruiser style. And it was good. And I admit I was unduly influenced by a co-worker that rides a Harley. Yeah, I know. But we all make mistakes from time to time.

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    The Texas Hill Country to the north, northwest and west of San Antonio has a zillion miles of really fine twisty roads. Perfect for a morning ride – returning home before the afternoon heat.

    Here's a few shots taken on some of the many rides in said Hill Country from Fall 2011 & Winter 2012. (Lost Maples State Park for most of 'em.)

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    As mentioned above, I was 'forcibly retired' in February 2012. Fortunately, the company had been bought out and for those workers displaced – me and about 12% of the workforce – the severance was 'decent'. Enough cash to carry me through until I could collect my various pensions and SS at age 62 in late 2012.

    And wonders never cease, my ex wanted to buy the house that I'd 'won' in the divorce. Not a huge profit, but it got the equity back I'd paid her just a few months earlier, and a little bit more. So all in all, the whole situation in the spring of 2012 was not a 'fell into it and came out smelling like a rose' deal-e-o, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse!

    So with the sticks-n-bricks sold, I set out to have an epic tour of the western US.

    That's me, the F150 and the A-liner folding travel trailer with the C50 tied down in the back as I left San Antonio in June 2012.

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    I headed west on I10 until I got to turn off for Balmorhea & I headed SW toward the Davis Mountains.

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    https://goo.gl/maps/MXJE4


    There's McDonald Observatory at the summit of the Davis Mountains – I wanted to see the exhibits there and Texas 118 is a nice twisty road through the mountains, making a 115mi loop.

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    - https://goo.gl/maps/B3Ic6


    It was a gorgeous June morning and I unloaded the C50 from the F150 and took off after breakfast. Unfortunately I was too early for the observatory visitors center hours and the day was rapidly heating so I took off without visiting.


    On the loop I stopped for breakfast – here's a couple of shots in the quiet of the late morning.

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    Back in my Navy days, one of my crew mates was from southwestern Minnesota - a farm boy from the corn country at the corner of Minnesota and Iowa. When we were floatin' about out on Yankee Station he'd come up on deck and if it was warm - and it often was as any that were there know - he'd say, "It's hotter than a popcorn fart in a whirl-wind". Now, I tell ya, I got no measurements that will quantify that 'lil turn of phrase, but I'd suggest that sometin' just shy of hot as hell qualifies.

    And the morning the above photos were taken qualified as gettin' close to being as hot as that popcorn fart that my shipmate went on and on about.


    Some might say I’m an odd sort of character – and maybe I am in some ways – but I am always on the lookout for seemingly out of place – unusual – things.

    Today I found a small Catholic chapel out in the middle of abandoned farms and houses. Please do open the link to the Google Maps image - it's worth it for context.

    https://goo.gl/maps/8fbGK

    It’s got a history – A Catholic mission when this area was a booming farm community. But the water source – a spring – dried up in 1983. There’s not much left but rusted farm machinery and falling down houses.

    I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
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    Under the Latin prayer book was this marksmanship medal. I’d think that a mother, or sister left it for one of our fallen. Poignant and sad too.

    These are the sorts of things that I ride to find. Were I in a car, I'd probably not been on the road and if by some strange quirk I was, then fer dang sure I'd not have stopped to check it out. On a scoot out in the middle of no-where west Texas it's easy to do a u-turn and go see what's going on. I live for this sorta stuff.


    Here's another loop ride I did on my trip out to Sacramento from San Antonio. I especially liked this loop: https://goo.gl/maps/ULCoV

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    Next, Part two of 'The Plan'
    #7
    The_Scottsman likes this.
  8. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    965
    Location:
    where elephants roam
    Good for you to jump back on the horse! Many others would just sit on the sidelines and moan.

    Looking forward to some Texas adventures, I hope to get down there and spend some time exploring a bit myself
    #8
    Retired-N-Roamin likes this.
  9. Retired-N-Roamin

    Retired-N-Roamin Retired and Roamin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    NorCal - for a while longer... Then?
    The plan – II


    I told a fib – unintentionally, but I misspoke when I said that my RR wasn't gonna be a been there, done that sort of RR. I find that to get to the creation of 'the plan' I've gotta do some BTDT sort of commentary. At least there's a pretty photo or two – nothing spectacular IMO, but nice none the less.


    So... We're still in SE Arizona at the last of the previous post, mid to late June.


    For the purposes of this story, AZ191 starts at Cliffton, AZ (https://goo.gl/maps/FmXGU) at 3475 feet (1060m) and rises almost a mile on the canyons and ridges of the southeastern face of the Mogollon Rim, ending on top of the southern edge of the extensive Colorado Plateau at Alpine AZ (8012 feet, 2445m).

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    AZ191 – do your research if you're a twisty road fanatic as I am. It's continually listed near the top of any list of the most scenic roads in NA. No, it's not strictly ADV stuff, as it's paved. But if you're riding from somewhere to get to somewhere and you can include this 100 mile section in your travel plans – it's worth it.

    For me – YMMV – riding these sorts of twisty roads at a comfortable and sane speed, getting into the flow of the road – letting the rhythm of corners seep into the deepest depths of your soul as you almost unconsciously apply throttle and brake, doing what's necessary to hit the apexes (without crossing the center line) and smoothly accelerating away, setting up for the next corner and its challenges.

    Always in a side-lobe of my mind are the questions... Will there be loose gravel or some other hazard that'll require some action? What about free ranging cattle? I went across the cattle guard back a ways. Deer? Sheep? Hikers? Cross traffic? Loggers? Log trucks? What other things do I need to look out for?

    These are my thoughts – conscious and unconscious – when I ride a road like AZ191. And it's good. These are the good times I want when I ride a scoot.

    In a way it's like meditation. The mind calms and the focus intensifies. In these moments I know I'm alive and participating, not just sitting and staring at a damn computer screen.

    For me, this is one reason I ride.


    On this particular start to the 'round the west' grand tour I had the A-liner travel trailer set up at a campground in Springerville. The little folding trailer did not have a shower or toilet room, so I needed a full service RV park. 'Roughing it' only goes so far. A shower is a necessity! You'll see this come into play on the upcoming F-n-R jaunt.

    I'd driven the F150 and trailer up 191, I'd ridden the loop at detailed in the last post, again up the road from Clifton and for the third time I wanted to ride down the road to Morenci and then back up again before continuing on with the westward journey.

    I left Springerville before sunrise and rode to Alpine for breakfast at a nice cafe there. The exhaust noise from the bike seemed 'strange'. When I got to Alpine and parked, this is what I saw – discoloration and residue from behind the pipes.

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    I'd heard it the day before when riding the loop, but this morning the noise was louder and it seemed to be getting worse as I rode the bike more miles. As I ate breakfast I decided the prudent thing to do was to go load the bike into the F150 and get on out to Sacramento to be able to disassemble the thing and see if any repair was even possible.

    So... we're gonna skip the rest of this initial stage of the 'round the west' grand tour as there was no more MC riding – and this is an MC riding web site after all – even though I do have some really pretty photos from these few days. Yes, I still took my time and stopped from time to time to smell the flowers – so to speak, but for the most part it was just getting the miles under ya in the most efficient manner possible while staying on the small twisty's and avoiding the more major roads – 2 or 4 lane.

    But these several days did prove to me that the A-liner folding trailer would not be suitable for the rest of the summer loop. Too much of a PITA to travel with on a daily basis. It might have been OK if ya went to a destination and set it up and used it as a place to sleep and as shelter from the weather. But I could not easily get in to the icebox with the thing folded and in travel position. Once I arrived at Sacramento I immediately sold the folding A-liner and bought a little bit bigger – a Casita - http://casitatraveltrailers.com

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    And this combination worked for the summer 2012 western tour. But... again it was too small for full time travel. Well, at least for me and my needs. There are many folks that are just fine with this small space and bless their hearts, but it's not got a really usable bathroom and that's a must for me.


    After swapping the A-liner for the Casita and replacing the failed exhaust – cracked interior weld with no access without completely stripping the cosmetic outside – I again set off in mid-summer to complete the 'round the west' tour.

    From Sacramento I went southwest toward the Golden Gate and the beginning of Hwy 1 just north of the bridge at Marin City. Starting here I took 1 or 101 north. Stopping here and there to ride a loop or see a sight on the C50.

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    https://goo.gl/maps/RFEa5

    From Fortuna I rode the Hwy 36-299-101 loop. My impression is that this is a nice road and if you're either local or transiting from I5 to 101 – worth the trip. But, for me, this loop cannot compare to the AZ191 loop detailed earlier. YMMV and all that I guess.

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    https://goo.gl/maps/4iC1d

    Here's a panorama of a typical view on 36 as it winds up and over the mountains on the way to Redding.

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    Hwy 299 OTOH is next to a river and in a deep & steeply walled canyon. The day of this ride there was a large forest fire sweeping across the tops of the ridges and the hillsides were so steep that large trees near the ridge tops were burning off near the ground and the top of the dead tree would topple all the way down slope to the road. Hot and nasty work for the firefighters on that one! And even now, three years after that day, I can distinctly remember the aroma of burning forest and the oppressive heat of the afternoon when there was a stoppage of traffic because of the efforts to control those chunks that were tumbling down to the road.


    Bad deal that for the forest, but a distinct memory that helps me recall that I was alive at that very moment – present in the moment – and not in some stinkin' air conditioned car, blocked off from reality.


    Yet another reason I ride – these sorts of sensory inputs are just not available to those cooped up behind glass.


    Then, I loaded the bike and on up the coast to Crescent City, where I paused for 2 days and rode the coast looking for whales feeding – too foggy to see – and a day into the Redwoods state & national parks. Grey and gloomy weather prevailed, so there wasn't any light for inspiring photos. Sorry – I'll go back again someday and see if the light is anything but blah.


    And with the bike loaded in the F150 I move on to Bandon OR.
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    And here's where we get to why I no longer have the C50 cruiser style and the first reason that eventually led me to buying the blue GS shown in the earlier post. The second reason – and the heart of 'the plan' comes later in Wyoming. Can ya guess the reason?

    This day's destination was Cape Arago to see what sights there were to see on that particular morning. The F150 and the Casita were at an RV park a few miles south of Bandon.

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    Here: https://goo.gl/maps/jouop

    West Beaver Hill Road takes off at 45° from US101 just north of Bandon - middle of this map. Ya kin see it on the map, and if you click the link and zoom in can see it turns into Seven Devils Road and then there's an unnamed road winds along Big Creek and comes into the north entrance to Cape Arago SP.

    So West Beaver Hill leaves 101 as a chip sealed county road. In 2-3 miles it turns to a 3-track gravel road. On this particular day it was dry and hard-packed with distinct and wide tracks. The two outside ones were 12”-24” wide and the center track a bit wider – maybe 36” in most places. An easy ride on the C50. 30-35 MPH was no sweat, slowing enough to ensure control and no surprises on the corners. I'd been on several hundred miles of these sorts of roads down in the Texas Hill Country and they'd proved to be a total non-issue for safety and control – even 2-up.

    So here I am bopping along, singin' a song, when... when, I go around a corner and there's freshly spread gravel, 3/4- as they call it in the industry, across the full width of the road. (For my lone EU subscriber, that's rock crushed until it is 18mm or smaller – the edges are usually sharply broken.) This particular newly spread gravel had very little clay or other binder type soil mixed in as the bike made distinct rock-on-rock crunchy noises as the tires rolled over the surface.

    The C50 had new Michelin street tires with 1500-2000 miles on 'em. But as you can see from the earlier photo, it's a cruiser style bike. There's no way to stand. There's no pegs under ya, just floorboards in front of ya. There's no way to use my dirt riding skills from yesteryear. I so badly want to stand and allow the bike to move under me as toddled along on this fresh 3” (75mm) thick layer of gravel. But all I could do was to sit there and creep along, frequently dog paddling to keep the damn thing from taking a nap. Crap.

    Perhaps there was only 1.5 to 2 miles of this – I don't know exactly – but it seemed to go on for-f'n-ever!

    Then... Then I passed the heavy roller that was compacting the fresh gravel and I could lift my feet and stop paddling. Whew! No naps today, but it wasn't any fun either.

    Back on pavement I continued my sight-seeing and ended up having a great chowder on the bay side at Charleston for lunch.

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    Here's a few photos from Cape Arago SP. Well worth the short side trip if you're in the neighborhood.

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    Though I did not have a telephoto lens long enough to capture them in detail, the rocks in the above shot were teeming with sea lions - their bickering calls could easily be heard on the breeze.

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    Even though this day was not too bad, I was tired of the near constant morning fog that really hid the vistas. Making one of those decisions that ya can when ya've got not timetable, I decided to go inland to Crater Lake.

    Here's the travel map and the loop map that I rode.

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    And here's a few photos that I don't see everyday on many photo blogs where folks have been to CR.

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    We'll pause here and continue our tour in part III. Stay tuned as there'll be another clue as how 'the plan' actually came into being.

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    #9
    Chris K likes this.
  10. Ernbo6

    Ernbo6 Negotiating a twisty somewhere

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,022
    Location:
    Noth Georgia.....
    Great stuff and enjoy reading your thoughts, philosophical perspectives and the realism of your writing style. I'm in, thanks for doing this and providing your insight.
    #10
    Retired-N-Roamin likes this.
  11. Retired-N-Roamin

    Retired-N-Roamin Retired and Roamin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    NorCal - for a while longer... Then?
    Here's why I'm doing this Fly-n-Ride. Here's why I'm conquering my fears and getting back 'on the horse'. I'm gonna die sooner or later and when I do I want no regrets as my last thoughts.

    Lloyd was a good friend. If you enjoy my writing, you'll love his. RIP

    http://www.wandrinlloyd.blogspot.com/

    Additional thoughts after some hours of reflection.

    Lloyd was a mentor to my fledgling urge to roam in an RV. He answered my questions and provided gentle guidance as I found my way.

    I met him in Denver in 2012. As classy in person as he projected in his blog and in emails and telephone conversations.

    If, at the end, I can be just 10% as classy, then I'll consider myself a success and die with no regrets.

    Again, rest in peace Lloyd.
    #11
  12. chukzelda

    chukzelda Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    NW Illinois
    Hey - where's my daily story fix? Don't leave us hanging in suspense too long!

    Enjoying the journey, please keep it coming.

    Chuk
    #12
  13. Retired-N-Roamin

    Retired-N-Roamin Retired and Roamin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    NorCal - for a while longer... Then?
    Workin' on it. Maybe later tonight or tomorrow.

    There's at least two more parts - may be that I break the narrative into three - dunno. But I'm workin' on it.

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    #13
  14. Retired-N-Roamin

    Retired-N-Roamin Retired and Roamin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    NorCal - for a while longer... Then?
    Life is strange. I've not been sick for ages - can't really remember the last time. And now I've been slammed hard!

    Fever. Everything aches from the head to my joints to all my muscles. Happy this did not happen during the coming F-n-R! And hoping that all this will pass within short.

    Stay tuned, as my next long posting will depend entirely on my physical condition - sooner than later - I hope.
    #14
  15. hondated

    hondated Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    67
    Get well soon and I am looking forward to reading your updates .Ted
    #15
    Retired-N-Roamin likes this.
  16. Mike Ryder

    Mike Ryder Kriegerkuh

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,411
    Location:
    Peachland B.C. Canada
    Sorry to hear that yer under the weather. If I felt that way I would get checked for Lyme disease right now while treatable and or detectable.
    #16
  17. Retired-N-Roamin

    Retired-N-Roamin Retired and Roamin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    NorCal - for a while longer... Then?
    Mike - a great idea! Thanks.
    #17
  18. Retired-N-Roamin

    Retired-N-Roamin Retired and Roamin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    NorCal - for a while longer... Then?
    24 hour bug? Dunno. Still weak and generally feel crappy, but the worst seems to be over. We'll see what the next hours bring.

    Thanks all for your concern.
    #18
  19. Retired-N-Roamin

    Retired-N-Roamin Retired and Roamin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    117
    Location:
    NorCal - for a while longer... Then?
    As we're waiting for whatever this illness is to either finish me or move on, here's a little something to tickle your brain cells.

    Enjoy!

    Oh, I read. A lot! You?

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    #19
  20. Mike Ryder

    Mike Ryder Kriegerkuh

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,411
    Location:
    Peachland B.C. Canada
    That's way more movements than a cookoo clock. Butt unexpected.
    #20