MA to CO and Back: The Anti-Adventure Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Hondarider, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. AndyCap

    AndyCap Mineral Oil Anyone?

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,487
    Location:
    "The Mack", New Hampshire
    Yeah, love it! Funny, and entertaining. Everyone knows a "Mike", and can identify. This should be good.
    #21
  2. ct-ktm

    ct-ktm Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,872
    Location:
    New England
    Florida..WTF happened to CO..?

    I picturing Mike making it about halfway..:D
    #22
  3. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    793
    Location:
    Adams, MA
    To his credit, M!ke is quite flexible. He wasn't the least bit peturbed by our change in destination. He hadn't been to either location and wasn't the least bit concerned. His plan, as far as I could tell, was to just follow me and see what happens. Every state line would be a new surprise and he wasn't the least bit troubled by where we might or might not end up. I truly envy this casual approach to life sometimes and, at times, it really made travelling with him enjoyable. His plan, if he ever even considered forming a plan, was to follow me, stop when I stop, eat when I eat, and sleep when I sleep. I even tracked his fuel consumption for him - tracking the 150 miles that his bike could cover between fill-ups and stopping accordingly. He truly seemed to be on vacation while my mind raced every moment like some hopped up cruise director. I even brought him winter gloves and a tank bag to use.

    4:30 AM on Friday the 7th and I'm ready to go. Too bad its raining outside. Accuweather isn't telling me anything I want to hear. Tropical Storm Andrea is cranking up the coast and things look bleak. The western end of NY looks fairly clear, but that's 8 hours away and M!ke already complained when I said I would be at his house at 7:00. Nothing to do but pace back and forth and study my packing list for that one critical item I missed...maybe an ice axe or a welding mask will come in handy...I've still got room for a tennis racket...sure, I don't play...but you never know...what if I run into Anna Kournikova in Aspen and she wants me to play...its best to be prepared.

    Anyhow, the wife and kids finally wake up and ready to see me off. They were probably looking forward to the break. I suited up in my shiny new official BMW Motorrad rain suit...more commonly referred to by my children and coworkers as my "super suit" (it's important that you only say the words "super suit" using your best Samuel L. Jackson impersonation...as in "Woman, where's my super suit?!")...this phrase was used to death on this trip. So I donned my suit, wrapped my phone and GPS in cheap plastic sandwich bags, and rode out of the garage into the pouring rain. I wouldn't be back for 4300 miles.

    [​IMG]


    Note - waterproof phone and GPS are kinda pricey, but I found that if I wrapped them in a cheap plastic sandwich bag and then clipped them into their holders, they were completely dry and the touch screens still worked perfectly. I brought a dozen or so bags with me and they lasted through the whole trip without incident. You can even push the power plug right through the bag after they are wrapped and you have a real nice seal. I wouldn't dump a bucket of water on them, but from behind the windshield of the GSA, this worked great.

    [​IMG]
    #23
  4. selkins

    selkins No hay banda!

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,541
    Location:
    The Frozen North
    Wow! Cleanest windscreen I have ever seen! :eek1
    #24
  5. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    793
    Location:
    Adams, MA
    After a rainy 30 minute ride, I arrived at M!ke's house at 6:55...early...anxious to hit the road and head west. Accuweather was promising sunny skies just a few hundred miles down the road, but Andrea was bearing down on us and the outlook was bleak for New England. As you might expect, Mike was not ready. He was still wandering around, looking for his clothes, eating some cold pizza, and waiting for his girlfriend to come down and see him off. Unbeknownst to me, said girlfriend was not happy. It seems that she was not pleased by our change in destination. Apparently Colorado is someplace that she would very much like to see and MIke was now going off to see it without her. When she finally did come down, her displeasure was palpable. This would be a subplot during our entire trip. :rofl It was now 7:15 and I was getting irritated by the lack of urgency being displayed. Let's go!!

    M!ke finally gets his rain gear on and seems like he's ready to get moving...then he's dorking around with his iPod for an eternity...then I get the first glimpse of a process I would see played out over and over again throughout the trip...M!ke trying to put on his rain over-gloves. It was like watching a 4 year old trying to put on his second mitten. I was running low on patience by this point...standing in the rain for most of this nonsense...and I was ready to go. When M!ke ran into trouble trying to get his Scala headset to work, I nearly lost it and told him to get his a$$ on the bike. He could fix it at a rest area somewhere dry.

    Note: If you're taking a road trip, I really can't overstate the value of a good Bluetooth headset. These things were a game changer for me. No more trying to decipher hand gestures for low fuel, "I'm hungry", "We missed a turn", or "There's a gremlin on your wing and William Shatner is freaking the hell out". These things are amazing. I could answer the phone, talk to M!ke, listen to my iPod, listen to local radio, place phone calls, and, had my GPS been so equipped, I could get verbal directions. For someone who talks as much as I do, these things make the trip. I can't be so sure that M!ke was as happy about it. This means that he had to listen to me talk for 12 hours a day. Sometimes we would agree to take a break from talking to listen to our individual music, but my singing would trigger the VOX and kill the music in both our headsets. Usually this would happen when I was belting out my favorite Journey or Led Zeppelin tunes...trying to hit the high notes with Steve and Robert.

    Rockin out and suddenly the music stops...

    Mike's voice in the headset " What did you do?"

    "Nothing"

    "You were singing again, weren't you?"

    "No"

    "Liar"

    "I'm going back to my music"

    This conversation repeated for thousands of miles. Sometimes he'd have to listen to me sing Journey's "Lights" for a few minutes before I'd notice that the music had stopped and I was transmitting. Poor Mike.

    Here's a picture that his girl begrudgingly took before we hit the road. I'm surprised she didn't cut off our heads. We had to pretend that we weren't happy to be hitting the road. This is our crime fighting pose..."Try to look like a super hero!"

    [​IMG]
    #25
  6. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    793
    Location:
    Adams, MA
    The next 12 hours involved slogging across the New York State Thruway in the pouring rain. Thank God for EZ-Pass because M!ke would have been at the tollbooth for an hour wrestling with his rain mittens and trying to fish change out of his pocket. We eventually got the headsets working and were able to pass the time talking about just how angry his girlfriend was:roflNot much else to report about the thruway...big trucks are your enemy and there's not a whole lot to see. At one point, M!ke tells me that he's on fire...I laugh, hoping that its true just to break the monotony. We pull over to find that his shiny (LOUD) chrome pipes have melted through the leg of his rainsuit. :lol3 We pull over to investigate and implement corrective action.

    Lucky for him, someone had a fresh roll of black duct tape in their "pannier" and was able to hook him up without much trouble. I was able to quickly access the tape by referencing my handy-dandy laminated inventory card...left box...blue bag...BAMM! Duct tape for the fix and velcro strap to keep the pant leg from flopping around in the wind. One point for AR disorder.

    He had to ride the rest of the trip with molten plastic all over his pipes. I wouldn't have been able to handle it. I would have been at Walmart that night buying Sprite Zero and a Magic Eraser. Fortunately for M!ke, he is not burdened by such things.

    [​IMG]
    #26
  7. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    793
    Location:
    Adams, MA
    On the topic of rainsuits, I can't really say enough about the BMW suit I bought for this trip. I've never really owned a nice rainsuit before...usually I just stay home if it rains or tough it out if I'm already far from home. However, as I venture further and further from my home, the odds of spending a day or even multiple days riding in the rain have increased exponentially. I wore this suit on multiple days during the trip and I was completely dry at all times. The inside didn't even turn into the Turkish Bath I was accustomed to with low cost PVC or rubber rainsuits I've experimented with in the past. The collar was comfortable, there was no restriction of movement, and it was easy to get on and off. And the color, well, rest assured that I attracted plenty of attention wherever I stopped. Some of the HD pirates seemed to be sneering more than usual...as if I was the one who looked ridiculous. And added bonus, now that I'm home, I can take back the night as the Fist of Goodness...running across rooftops and crashing dinner parties.

    [​IMG]
    #27
  8. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    793
    Location:
    Adams, MA
    Day 1 ended somewhere outside of Cleveland, Ohio...about 525 miles from my house...the rain had let off somewhere around Buffalo and we were just trying to break free of the grey skies...we stopped at a Hampton Inn and that set the bar for accomodations for the rest of the trip...covered parking...3 fluffy pillows...a down comforter...and a full breakfast buffet. This was truly not a bad way to end a long day in the saddle. We agreed to share rooms and simply alternate who paid from day to day. Seemed like it should all come out in the end. Discussion of money makes me terribly uncomfortable and M!ke displays his trademark nonchalance on the topic so it was an easy arrangement to live with. Mercifully, our rain suits were already dry by the time we stopped so we checked in, changed, and cruised over to Bob Evans to eat waaaaaay too much fried food.

    [​IMG]

    After some deep fried appetizers, I ate my first of about 20 country-fried steaks that night...I do so love country-fried steak with a mountain of mashed potatoes and tons of gravy. Some pie for dessert and I was ready for bed. We got back to the room, Mike stepped out to make an uncomfortable call to his angry girlfriend, and, by the time he returned to the room, I was dead asleep. 9:00PM.
    #28
  9. Shooby

    Shooby Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,217
    Location:
    San Diego
    #29
  10. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    793
    Location:
    Adams, MA
    DAY 2: 05:00 and I'm ready to rock. In the course of 15 minutes, I've knocked out the 3 S's and I'm packing my bags for departure. M!ke is pretending to sleep, but I know there's no way he slept thru the electric razor concert I just held. I'm pretty sure he is well on his way to hating me. The trip won't be a success unless we return to work; unwilling to speak to one another. Our coworkers are counting on it.

    Speaking of our coworkers, I had been "checking in" via FaceBook at every stop and posting pictures of our exploits on a regular basis. People back at home were following our progress, sharing with the office, and responding to my posts with as much inappropriate content as possible. I'm sure my mother was thrilled to read such disparaging remarks about her son.

    So back to Saturday morning and M!ke pretending to be asleep. It was probably close to 06:00 at this point and he was still playing opossum. I had already dressed and packed; now I was studying the map and Accuweather's forecast for the next day or two. Mike finally started moving and I greeted him with as much innocence as I could muster.

    "Oh, you're awake?"

    "You're such a dick" was the response.

    hahahahahahahahaha...I bet it was the razor:rofl

    M!ke rallied and pulled his crap together in about half an hour or so...I went off to pack the bike and then came back to nudge him along. Thank God he showers at night or this would have taken forever. He told me about the multiple phone calls he made the night before and how he was planning to come back to the room to watch the Bruins game, but when he arrived, the lights were out and I was dead asleep. He also mentioned something about me snoring like a bear in hibernation. I made a mental note to try the BreatheRight strips the next night; I'm not completely inconsiderate.

    We hit the road around 07:00 after breakfast and headed west on I90/I80. Accuweather was predicting bad weather and possible tornados east of Des Moines for Sunday so I made it a goal to get west of Des Moine by the end of Saturday. Right before we left the hotel, I decided to pop a Codeine pill to ease the back pain from the previous day of riding. Day 1 of this trip was the first day of riding for me this year; I had been too busy to get out and make some runs to build a little stamina so I started this trip completely cold. I stalled the bike leaving the parking lot, I tried starting in 3rd gear from a red light, I missed a turn, and I think I nearly rear-ended a car. I heard M!ke's voice in my helmet asking me what the hell was wrong with me. It seemed distant and surreal.

    It wasn't until I was rolling down the on-ramp to the Interstate that I realized I had just doped myself before climbing on a motorcycle. DOH! I had to forcibly pull my $hit together and ride out the drugs. Mercifully there was nobody on I-90 at 7:00AM on a Saturday and I had a couple hours to pull my head out of my a$$. Lesson learned.:huh
    #30
  11. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    793
    Location:
    Adams, MA

    Oh good! I was afraid that I would lose you guys before I even started. I actually skipped a lot of background to get the story rolling. I wanted to tell you about the street I grew up on, my first love in the 3rd grade, Amy Wheeler, and that weird experience I had at Boy Scout camp.

    That guy's thread has better quality photos and apparently better quality food - I'm jealous.
    #31
  12. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    793
    Location:
    Adams, MA
    DAY 2 continued:

    I wish I could tell you more about the ride through Toledo and Chicago, but I was quite properly stoned on prescription meds and I have almost zero recollection . I do remember that my EZ Pass wasn't getting picked up by the toll sensors and I kept getting angry messages from the stack lights...call EZ Pass...low balance...no EZ Pass...slow down Jeff Spicoli...Mr. Hand is a dick!

    I had no idea what was going on...I just kept driving through and assuming I could sort it out later. At one point, a toll booth attendant told me that my mounting point was no good and I should relocate it. I proceeded to hold it in my teeth during the next few tolls and it worked perfectly. I made a mental note to fix it later in the trip. Those middle states really like their tolls. I got my EZ Pass statement in the mail the other day and I had $100 in tolls. I vaguely remember Mike being along on Day 2, but I can't remember any of our interactions before we stopped for lunch.

    Speaking of M!ke, for a guy riding a cruiser with loud-a$$ pipes, forward controls, and not a lot of creature comforts, he plowed through 500+ miles of rain on DAY1 without so much as a complaint; even when his rain suit melted. Had I been sober, I would have been properly impressed. I certainly am now. DAY2 was much of the same, but I was going to put him to the test before the end of this day...
    #32
  13. Marc LaDue

    Marc LaDue Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    264
    Location:
    Hancock Township, Plymouth County, Iowa
    I think you're getting better Jeff!

    I'm sitting here on the computer in our local cancer center's lobby waiting for my wife to get off of work laughing my you-know-what off. You rank right up there with Vermin (google him some time if you're not familiar), and Mike has no idea how lucky he is. I too tend towards the anal, so much so in fact that I drug along a spare clutch, rear shock, chain, tires, tubes, handlebars, etc. the past two years on our TAT exploits. Not for me, mind you, but rather my fellow "Oscars" who were too lazy or clueless (not to mention happy-go-lucky) to care. They, like Michael however, were enjoying their vacation, while I was fretting about whatever needed fretting over.
    Anyway, keep up the good work, it's much appreciated. If you should write a book I want an autographed copy!

    LaDue
    #33
  14. Shooby

    Shooby Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,217
    Location:
    San Diego
    I concur, he does indeed.
    More please.

    However, I'd say it's highly unlikely that Hondarider's bike would ever be allowed to rank right up there with Cack. Go Cack!
    #34
  15. Dillard

    Dillard Seeker

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    Bama
    "I was able to quickly access the tape by referencing my handy-dandy laminated inventory card...left box...blue bag...BAMM!"

    Funny stuff.

    This is "A Walk In The Woods" meets Motorcycle Travel.
    #35
    woodsrider-boyd likes this.
  16. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    793
    Location:
    Adams, MA
    Sweet! A Bill Bryson shout out...I'm beyond happy with that.

    Who's Jeff?:huh
    #36
  17. Dillard

    Dillard Seeker

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    Bama

    Well deserved, you have some hilarious lines in this thing. And the Ang Lee reference? You've set the bar high brother, we're waiting for more :ear
    #37
  18. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    793
    Location:
    Adams, MA
    OK...back to DAY2. Once I awoke from comatose state, it turns out that Day2 was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, temperatures were moderate, and the traffic on the interstate was bearable. The goal for today was to make it past Des Moines, IA...roughly 660 miles of beautiful U.S. interstate highway across picturesque Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. I was rocking out to the music in my helmet and anxious to see what was around the next bend. Mike was still hanging in there without complaint. Of course he had no idea that we were trying to cover so many miles today...this would be a record for him.

    At some point, we caught up with this guy. He was haulin a$$ down the highway and I couldn't get a picture so I had to borrow one from Google.

    [​IMG]

    This thing is awesome! My understanding is that it's a retired amusement park ride that was put on a truck chassis. Whatever it is, it looks like a lot of fun. The driver is way up in the air and there's not a lot of wind protection, but he seemed to be having a good time. Gave us a beep and a wave and then exited the highway.

    [​IMG]


    Somewhere along the way, I remember seeing a stack of combine harvesters...stacked from gigantic to miniature...probably 60' tall...on the lawn of a dealership or factory. It was super cool, but I can't find an image of it anywhere. I'm guessing it was IOWA.

    UPDATE: I found it! Turns out they were grain trailers - not combines, but cool nonetheless. I was grateful for the roadside distraction.

    [​IMG]

    Now it was getting late in the day and we were closing in on Des Moines. We were about due for dinner...probably 7:00...when we reached the outskirts of town. After the awesome room that we had at the Hampton Inn, we were planning to find another one tonight. After a 650+ mile day, I could think of nothing better than 3 fluffy pillows, ice cold AC, and a pillow top mattress. I fiddled with the GPS as we rode....looking at our options. There was a Hampton Inn on the east side of the city and we were nearly there, but there was still daylight and I got greedy. GPS showed another one on the west side of the city and thought we should press on. That way when we got started on Day 3, we'd already be through the city and it would be clear sailing to Nebraska. I had it all figured out. I congratulated myself for thinking 2 steps ahead...I'm a damn genius.

    Right about then we passed the exit for the Hampton Inn and a few restaurants. The smell from a steak house nearby made me weak in the knees. I so badly wanted to sit down, have a beer or two, and eat an enormous steak. M!ke chimed in on the headset "Why aren't we stopping?"

    I assured him that we had even better accommodations down the road and there would be an even better steak house and we would be that much further from the impending storms predicted for Day 3. I could tell that he had been anticipating a stop as soon as we hit Des Moines...not after Des Moines. We were probably at 675 miles at this point...we pressed on.

    I was watching the countdown on the GPS and every tenth of a mile seemed like an eternity...the sun was right in my face and not that far above the horizon. We finally hit the exit, made a few turns, and pulled up in front the the Hampton Inn. I swear I heard a chorus of angels. Oddly, there were people EVERYWHERE. M!ke went inside to secure our accommodations for the evening...his gait showing more than a little pain from the day's ride. The lobby was packed so I just hung out by the bikes. A pizza guy, having just made a delivery to the hotel, saw the bikes and came over to talk to me. This seems to happen every time I stop...gas stations, restaurants, rest areas...random people just come over and engage me in conversation...often on the most random topics...but usually about the motorcycle and how far from home I am. This is why I was content with the idea of riding solo cross-country...you're never really alone...and solo motorcyclists are much more approachable than groups...in my experience anyway.

    So Pizza Guy and I spend a while discussing the merits of the BMW GSA, seeing the world, and the Boston Marathon Bombing (always comes up when they see Mass plates), when M!ke comes out of the hotel looking dejected. After standing in line at the lobby desk for 10 minutes, he found out that there wasn't a single room to be had. Apparently there was some kind of baseball tournament going on that weekend and there were many teams in town for it. Pizza guy confirmed that all the nearby hotels were packed and suggested that we backtrack east to get a room. I said that we'd probably just keep heading west and find a place in the next town. Pizza guy looked perplexed..."There's nothing out there" he protested..."You really should head back east afew miles on I80".

    Now, at this point, I admit that I was suffering from target fixation of sorts. I just wanted to get to Colorado and the idea of going backwards was unbearable. Surely there were more hotels just a little ways down the road. Pizza guy, sensing my inner turmoil, added that the only places to the west were real sketchy and filled with pedophiles and drug addicts banished from the city limits. That sounded preposterous...how does one score drugs or under-aged prey out in the middle of nowhere...those interests are best served in more metropolitan locales. Surely we'd find a kindly mom and pop motel out there...maybe even another Hampton Inn...western Iowa must have something.

    I thanked Pizza Guy for his advice while silently questioning his work ethic...he'd been standing there with me for 20 minutes...and we hit the road. Mike looked and sounded a bit weary, but he still wasn't complaining. I was starving. The sun must have gone behind some clouds because it was getting dark. Out on I80 west once again, I decided to let the GPS do the work and find us our next available lodging. I hit "FIND HOTEL" and all of the results were pointing East...behind us. I scrolled through page after page of results and still they were all behind us. I didn't mention this to Mike. I think his headset battery had died at this point and he was stuck following me without any indication of how far we had left to go. The only sign on the road said COUNCIL BLUFFS, NE - 120 miles. We had ridden well over 700 miles, it was getting dark, I was starving, and I'm pretty sure that MIke was hating me.
    #38
  19. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    793
    Location:
    Adams, MA
    I brought numerous items specifically for Mike. The main one was the siphon and hose. It would be quite a challenge for me to outlast the fuel tank on the GSA - I think its good for 300+ miles. Mike's bike runs out anywhere between 120 and 160 miles depending on how fast we're going. This put the pressure on me to make sure he didn't run out. At some point, I think Nebraska, we were about 100 miles into a tank and there was a sign that said "no fuel for 60 miles". We had to double back and fill up or we would have been siphoning gas on the roadside. Mike was blissfully unaware of any impending issue when I told him that we were going back to fill up. In this pairing, riding the GSA is like carrying a jerry can with 5 gallons of spare fuel.
    #39
  20. grahamfitter

    grahamfitter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
    :lurk Great stuff.

    From another Nerdish Defense Contractor Engineer in Mass.
    #40