MA to CO and Back: The Anti-Adventure Ride

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

  1. 1200gsceej

    1200gsceej wanabee overachiever

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    Several of your observations about motorcycle trips have stirred memories, but this one grabbed hold of me. Has happened a number of times, but most memorably in Death Valley a few years ago. I can still feel it - almost 'taste' it even. You describe it well; thanks.
    -ceej

  2. treebrain

    treebrain Bobby Lynch

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    I think I've got this figured out: Late in the afternoon of November 1st, our author-hero was sitting in his office killing time before heading home to his understanding wife, when an attorney entered. The attorney then dropped two folders on his desk. One of which was a Cease And Desist Order. The other, the legal details of the Defamation Of Character Suit that Mike's now not-so-anonymous former girlfriend has brought upon him, taking down with it, our highly anticipated ending . . . somewhat like the Hindenburg.

    Oh, the humanity . . .
  3. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    I wish it was something that interesting.

    Honestly, I've been stimied by something I can only assume is "writer's block". I'm not sure that it applies to a dilettante writer such as myself, but I've been just flat stuck for months.

    I think it's because Day 8 of the trip brought me in close vicinity to a storied land that I've been reading about for years and years. A place where ancient English machines chug and Italian hypersports scream through the bucolic countryside. A place where the most prolific moto-journalist of my lifetime has collected and shared stories that have inspired me to go beyond the horizon.

    That magical place...Madison, WI.

    Every time I start to write about Day 8, I get all caught up in trying to create an homage to my literary hero and the words fail me. I just can't communicate my esteem in an effective way. I've drafted the words over and over again, but I always give up in frustration. I'm just not worthy. I feel like Wayne and Garth when they meet Alice Cooper...except I didn't even meet the guy. I cruised right by the exit in my hurry to burn miles and beat the forecasted weather.

    There I was...within spitting distance of my personal gearhead Graceland...Home to the King of moto-journalism...and I didn't even make the time to cruise past his home or stop for a photo op in front of a "Welcome to Madison" sign...or even to ride down some of the roads chronicled in his writing. I blew right by and I've regretted it ever moment since then. I think that regret has caused my writer's block. I should've gotten off...I should've asked around about his whereabouts...stalked him on Google...stopped at the foot of his driveway...craned my neck to spy his fabled garage...waved to Barb in the window as she dialed 911...asked for a personal note inside my autographed copy of Leanings. I should've done something...anything...after all, how often is it that you come that close to one of your heroes?

    In the end, it would've been hard to explain to Mike why we were wasting a day wandering Wisconisn looking for the whereabouts of a guy he's never heard of...

    We pressed on and I was sad.

    I wonder if he reads ADVrider...

    EDIT 5APR2015 - I WAS JUST RE-READING PORTIONS OF THIS RIDE REPORT...TRYING TO MUSTER THE CREATIVITY TO WRITE ANOTHER ONE...WONDERING IF THIS WAS MY OWN PERSONAL "TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD"...FEARFUL THAT I MIGHT NEVER PEN ANOTHER PIECE OF THIS QUALITY. THIS ENTRY WAS MEANT TO MY PERSONAL TRIBUTE TO PETER EGAN...ONE OF MY LITERARY HEROS...BUT IT SEEMED TO HAVE FALLEN FLAT AND NOBODY EVER PICKED UP ON MY OBSCURE REFERENCES. IT DOESN'T REALLY FIT WITH THE OVERALL STORY. I'M TEMPTED TO DELETE IT ALL TOGETHER. IT'S CRAP - MOVE ON.
  4. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    OK...let's wrap this bad boy up. It's Friday morning and we're cruising east on I-90...intent on covering some big miles and getting ourselves within a day's ride of home. I was sulking in my helmet over my apparent lack of stalking skills and Mike was doing his own thing back there on the road. BY this point, we had a real good handle on the headsets and we could communicate at will or rock out to our respective tunes. I really think it took us the whole week just to figure out all the buttons on the Scala headsets. The VOX function still tripped me up when I was singing my heart out, but I was feeling pretty good about my mastery of the electronics. I was making phone calls home thru Siri and people couldn't even tell that I was sailing down the highway at 80mph.

    Chicago came and went without much fanfare...traffic was ugly and we ended up sitting a lot...then I took a wrong turn and found myself on I-65 South. The GPS was acting a bit squirrely and we had to navigate some side streets to get back on track. Ordinarily, this would have just been an interesting taste of local color, but we were in the business of covering miles today and not looking for the time suck of navigating urban neighborhoods.

    Indiana zipped past and I kept thinking that we should take a short detour north just to touch MIchigan, but once again, we were slaves to the clock for no good reason. The joy of the trip was drained right out of us and we were thinking about nothing other than getting home. If only I could condition myself to stay out of that trap...to enjoy the trip right up to the last minute and treat my arrival home as a happy surprise. I've got to work on that.
  5. Mike Yanagita

    Mike Yanagita Gurgling bloody mess

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    If it's any help, the parts of the RR I enjoyed the most were the ones that were written in a more conversational voice, less so the parts that sounded more like you were trying. Of course, most good writing by definition is supposed to look like it was easy, and that probably doesn't happen without a lot of rewriting.

    Don't sweat it -- just tell the story; owning up to your limits is just one more reason this RR has been good to read.
    neanderthal likes this.
  6. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    Ohio passed by without much excitement, but it was certainly hot. I think the record temperatures we saw in Colorado were moving with us. We were running less than a day ahead of a storm that was also moving east and it was hot and steamy. I tried to kick back with a cold Mountain Dew in the lush green grass of an interstate rest area, but was over-run by voracious mosquitos and ants after about 5 minutes. I'm not sure where they came from, but once I noticed I was being eaten alive, it was as if a swarm had engulfed us. We ended up all but running to the motorcycles to escape them. Short respite over, we pressed on.

    Things were pretty quiet by now...no deep discussions of the meaning of life...no more stories of past conquests or drunken debauchery...not much dialogue between Mike and I at all. We were focused solely on getting home.

    We hit Cleveland late in the day and there was significant traffic due to what I assume was an Indians game. At this point, we were somewhat relieved because we knew we were less than 1 day's ride to home. Still, we pressed on knowing that every extra mile today was one less mile for tomorrow. We cruised northeast along the shore of Lake Erie with glimpses of the water in some places. I had my sights set on making it to the New York border before calling it a day.

    Then, like the flip of a switch, the sun disappeared and it got dark...quick. Time to find lodging before the deer come out of hiding.
  7. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    It always seems to be the same story. When you're not ready to stop, the landscape is dotted with beautiful hotels with inviting pools and steak houses within walking distance. When night drops like heavy drapes, the highway becomes a desolate wasteland with no exit for 50 miles and no lodging. We were in Pennsylvania by this point and had given up on New York...we just wanted to get off the highway. I should've stopped in Erie, but my drive to get home had overshadowed my good judgement. We had ridden about 650 miles today and we were both a little fatigued. It was time to get off.

    I pulled off at the first exit I could find that offered even the remotest chance of civilation. We rode down towards a town and found ourselves with two choices of lodging...a multi-story Holiday Inn Express and a dilapidated dive of a road side motel. Mike was in favor of the clean, modern, and well lit Holiday Inn express, but all I could think of was taking 5 trips to unload my bike and schlepping my gear up to a 5th floor hotel room. I had my eye on the filthy little motel with parking 4 feet from the door. In my fatigued state, all I could think of was the distance between my bike and a bed.

    Typical to our relationship, Mike let me have my way.
  8. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    It was Mike's turn to pay for the motel so he went into the office while I sat on the bike...exhausted.

    Another couple had gone in just before him so he was standing there in the lobby/living room of the immigrant owners of this fine establishment.

    When it was finally MIke's turn, he asked for a room with 2 beds and the proprietor informed him that they only had rooms with singles. Having spent the last 5 minutes surveying his crap-tacular surroundings, Mike was thrilled with the news and was just about to come outside to tell me that we'd be going to the Holiday Inn instead.

    However, impatient control freak that I am, I had come into the motel office behind him and I was listening in on the exchange. I piped up with "we'll just take 2 rooms". Mike spun around to see where the voice came from and was visibly disappointed. He had decided that he didn't want to spend another minute in this place and I had decided I wouldn't be riding another 20 feet tonight. Crestfallen, he payed the man and we collected our keys...
  9. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    I rolled my bike over to my assigned room and backed it right up to the door. It was dark at this point and after a long day of highway riding, I just wanted to get out of my riding gear and relax. Mike was 2 doors down. I opened the door to my room...err...8' x 8' cell...and was smacked in the face by the overpowering smell of mold and mildew. I would have laughed if it hadn't knocked the wind out of me. I will say, however, that what it lacked in size, it made up for in filth. I stuck my head back out the door to see if Mike had opened his door yet. Clearly he had because when I looked his way, he called me a dick and flipped me off. Aside from the lack of meth addicts lurking in the shadows, this was really the worst accommodations of the entire trip. I knew we should have stayed at the Holiday Inn.

    [​IMG]
  10. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    The good news is that there was a dive bar/restaurant not 20 feet from my room and it was Friday night...time to get some local color. Afraid that they'd stop serving food at any moment, we hurriedly unpacked the bikes, and went to the bar. I didn't even change out of my riding gear. Mike was concerned about the safety of the bikes, but all I cared about was a cheeseburger and a beer. We walked in and I felt like Charlie Daniels in Uneasy Rider; my textile garb and riding boots like a neon sign of nonconformance. I really should have ridden a Harley. Its not that the place was particularly rough as bars go, but it was clearly very local and we very clearly were not. It had to be close to 10:00 by now so folks were drinking heavily and having a good time. There's always that moment when you're surveying the room to see if anyone is looking real hard at you and you detect the potential for trouble, but that wasn't the case. We got a cursory once over from the crowd and then they went back to the business of trying to seduce the drunk chicks. A tired looking hostess led us to a table where an exhausted middle-aged waitress took our orders.
  11. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    We got our orders in just before the kitchen closed and we were content to drink a couple beers while replaying the events of the day. Mike was still going on about what a crap hole the room was and how he wanted us to stay at the Holiday Inn...and, if I had let him handle the room registration without stepping in, we'd be at the Holiday Inn right now. I conceded my poor judgement and reminded him of just how convenient it was to have his bike parked 10 feet from his bed. He countered with the fact that the patrons of the bar were parked just another 10 feet beyond that and would assuredly be crashing into our bikes in a drunken haze a few hours from now.

    I was just happily surprised that we were still laughing and seemingly still having a good time after so many miles on the road. That was the biggest shock of the trip. I figured we'd be pissed at eachother by the 4th day.

    Too tired to get involved in any of the fun going on at the bar, we ate our food and drank our beers. Mike ordered something with "chili" and "fire" and "burner" and "special" in the name which seemed like a daring move at 10:00 at night...on a motorcycle trip...staying in a filthy motel room. I just laughed and hoped for the worst. I wanted to end the trip on a high note with him involved in some sort of gastric disaster. I needed the material to write about.
  12. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    Back in the room, the stench was fantastic. I pulled back the disgusting bedspread and tossed it on the floor. I didn't want to wake the next morning to discover myself sucking on the corner of the filthy rag that had spent so many nights beneath the horny patrons of the bar next door. I was absolutely sure that I wouldn't be able to fall asleep in my dirty surroundings. 30 seconds later I was dead asleep.

    I awoke with the sun and bound out of bed...mostly because I was suddenly overcome with the feeling of things crawling all over me. I took a hot shower with a bunch of dead flies and then started packing for the final stretch of our journey. I found myself wishing that it wasn't ending so soon...maybe another couple weeks on the road...I've always wanted to ride to Alaska.

    I poked my head out of the room to see if the bikes survived and to collect a few pictures...

    [​IMG]

    How's that for convenient parking? The tall building beyond is the Holiday Inn that I felt was just too far away.
  13. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    The sun came out as I was loading the bike. This was going to be a nice day.

    [​IMG]

    That's the bar just behind the bike.
  14. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    So Mike, what did you think of last night's accomodations?

    [​IMG]

    Bwahahahahahaha!
  15. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    On the road...sun is shining...wisps of fog floating across farmer's fields...very little traffic...this is living!

    We cross the state line into New York and motor on toward Buffalo looking for a suitable last breakfast. I'm going to have to do some serious dieting after this trip so I want to really pile it on this morning.

    An hour or two into the ride and we arrive at one of my personal favorites...

    [​IMG]

    Country-fried steak...hash browns...scrambled eggs...whole milk...orange juice...biscuits...WooHOo! 3000 calories of pure happines! Suck it Tony Horton!
  16. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Thanks for continuing this fun RR.

    BTW, Where did you get the map on the port side of your pannier?
  17. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    After the late breakfast, we gassed up and hit the interstate once again...burning miles in the sunshine across New York state...happy to actually see hills again. We skirted Albany and headed towards Mass on Rte. 2 over Petersburg Pass...The Taconic Trail in New York and the Mohawk Trail in Mass. After a fast and twisty climb over the mountain near the VT/NY/MA borders, we coasted down the other side into the realities of our lives...work...kid's sporting events...lawn mowing...home improvement...bills...blah...blah...blah. We split up at the foot of the mountain road without much discussion...Mike heading south and me riding north. The trip was over...far too soon...without significant adventure, but without any real disasters or injuries. A success of sorts.

    I pulled into the driveway on a sunny Staurday afternoon...parked the bike in the garage...kissed the kids and took the wife out to dinner. I don't think I unpacked or rode the bike for nearly a month. I was in Mike's garage a couple weeks ago and he still hasn't washed the melted rain suit off of his exhaust system or ridden the bike. It's been 6 months.
  18. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    The site is Two Wheel Vinyl. They make a bunch of motorcycle related stickers and a variety of map decals. They're not cheap, but the quality is very good and its good for starting up conversations with people at rest stops and gas stations. One of my buddies assures me that it's quite dorky, but I like it.

    http://twowheelvinyl.com/index.php?cPath=13
  19. Hondarider

    Hondarider Hero of the Stupid

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    EPILOGUE

    I'd like to say that we were greeted at work on Monday like returning heroes, but it wasn't really the case. Apparently, our cowboy picture had made the rounds through the entire facility and provided fodder for all sorts of Brokeback-esque comments. I heard that the picture even found its way into power point presentations at customer sites. That's fun. We spent a couple days regaling anyone who would listen with our stories of derring do. Some folks actually seemed to enjoy the stories which prompted me to write this ride report. We settled back into normal routines and got to work.​

    A few weeks later, as I retold my tale to a fellow rider at a bar during vacation, he and I hatched a trip to Nova Scotia in September. I always wanted to enjoy a bowl of chowder overlooking the Atlantic on the cliffs in Meat Cove. I'll have to write about that trip elsewhere.​

    Mike assured me that while he may someday be permitted to take another motorcycle trip, it wouldn't be with me because we had too much fun and his girlfriend was not happy to see him having some laughs with anyone other than her. I thought for sure that she'd get over it and we'd be planning another trip right about now. However, he proposed to her on New Year's Eve and now he's in wedding planning hell. He informed me this morning that he was on a strict budget and that a 2014 motorcycle trip is completely out of the question. I suspect that I'll see his bike on Craigslist this spring as he goes into full matrimony lockdown. Bummer. His life is over for the forseeable future.​

    So here I am...looking to plan a 2014 trip...without a riding partner. I had an incredibly gracious offer for a week or dirt biking in Colorado from LaDue and his group of friends in Sioux City, but I can't make the dates work due to family commitments. You've read my story...seen my anal retentive packing list...enjoyed photos of my junk...got a feel for my sense of humor...hopefully, been entertained.​

    SHoot me a message if you're up for a ride.​
  20. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Glad to see ya back wrapping up the trip! You really convey that sense of "rushing back to the barn" that often hits us. I remember a grade school teacher asking us how far you could walk into the woods.....same sort of thing I think.

    Thanks for taking us on the final leg of your journey. Now, what about that little jaunt for a bowl of chowder???