Three Cylinders, Two Frozen Nuts, and One Last Cigarette

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PackMule, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    I can pick you up at the airport, and I'll have a bike waiting for you when we get to my house, said Prubert. (Yes, I have a friend named Prubert. He's huge, in Japan)


    This is the jetsetting reality of my fly-n-ride lifestyle. :pimp (Okay, okay. In reality, this is only my second fly-n-ride, the first being my Cali trip last year)


    After we head up to Duluth, we can go around the north side of Lake Superior. It's a beautiful ride.


    Sounds good to me. Combine the pleasure of a ride with a bit of business. What could be better? :freaky

    Living in New England warps one's perspective a bit, though, with regard to time and distance. I mean here, driving through 3 states could take as little as 15 minutes. So I didn't see anything potentially wrong with flying into Chicago (I had a free ticket on Southwest) when our ultimate destination for the day was Duluth. :cromag

    And then there's the weather thing... :vardy

    But what better way to inject a little ADVenture into a street ride than by adding a bit of solid-state precipitation to the time crunch deadline of a business meet...?

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    #1
  2. ZZR_Ron

    ZZR_Ron Looking up

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    Your doing the north of Superior NOW?

    This is gonna be good....

    :lurk
    #2
  3. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Tickets booked (did I mention my free ticket had expired, and I had to shell out cash, anyway?), I sent my gear out to Prubert via FedEx. We were going to be on a tight time budget on Friday, and I wanted to travel without checking any luggage. Imagine the consequences if my gear were lost in the vortex of the baggage handling system. :bash And I didn't think it would have been prudent to take my gear as carryon -- Excuse me, sir, could you explain why you're wearing a vest full of wires? Heated, you say? Please step right this way to our "special" screening booth... :ymca

    I didn't really need my stuff the week before the trip, anyway, because we were on a family vacation to Colorado. Although I was pining for an adventure bike, we had a kickass time hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, and PackBaby (literally) was a trooper -- putting in 8 or 9 miles a day. :gdog

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    What was it I said about my jetsetting lifestyle? :scratch Really, I do work for a living. :lol3
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  4. dugmar

    dugmar Pinball Wizard

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    Yep. I live in Mass and I can be in Maine in 22 minutes, and I have to drive through NH to get there.
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Looks like you're having all the fun, while I slave here minding the office... :thumb
    #5
  6. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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  7. DantesDame

    DantesDame Ridin' Fool Super Moderator

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  8. bitterjoe

    bitterjoe killing the fatted calf

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    Cool. A sled report. :lol3

    #8
  9. Zen Slug

    Zen Slug Spineless Adventurer

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    #9
  10. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    The sacrifices of being the boss-man... :pierce (Bet you didn't even notice that I was gone...)
    #10
  11. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    So, in typical PackMule style, midnight the morning of departure came and went, without me having my stuff packed (aside from what I had already sent to Pru). I had all good intentions of getting ready and heading to bed early, since Friday was going to be a long day in the plane/car/saddle, but CamelMoe had different plans and wandered over with a bunch of beer just after the baby went to bed. So we sat down, and I showed him the ins and outs of ADVRIDER and got his account registered. :type :freaky


    Thankfully, the beer eventually ran out ,and CamelMoe sauntered back next door and I got back to packing. My head hit the pillow somewhere around 2am, just 2 1/2 short hours before CamelMoe wandered back over to bring me to the airport. What a guy. :feelgood


    One great thing about flying out of Manchester, NH is that you don't have to deal with the clusterf*ck that is Logan, in Boston. :bluduh The other great thing is that you can be standing in the security line 30 minutes after leaving my house, which is a godsend because this is what my stuff looked like at 5am (the time we were appointed to leave, and only 1.5 hrs before the plane was supposed to take off).

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    So, maybe I hadn't "packed" so much the night before, as "piled". But I'm a pile-organizer (just ask Mrs. Packmule, much to her chagrin). Anyway, we eventually got to Manchester, where I proceded to wait my turn in the security corral (liquids under 3oz in their own containers now, children). Once cleared, I walked literally right on to the plane, as the "A" group was boarding. Man, this trip was coming together! I called Pru and told him we were on schedule -- he was just leaving Milwaukee and would meet me at Midway, in Chicago, in just about the same amount of time it would take to fly there from New Hampshire. (Remember what I said about living in New England and the interstate distance perspective...)

    To mix transportation euphamisms, though, this is where the train started to come off the tracks. We pushed back from the gate on time, but I noticed that the pilot was taxi-ing quite slowly. Too slowly.

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    When we got to the end of the taxiway, we pulled off into a siding and the engines grew silent. :bluduh Folks, we've got some bad news from the flightdeck -- we're on an airtraffic delay out of Chicago. They're expecting about 30 minutes, so we're just going to shut her down and save a little bit of gas until we get the word to go. Luv ya. :bluduh

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    I watched as flight after flight passed us and took off. And the sun came up.

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    We ended up taking off just about 40 minutes late, and the pilot informed us that there'd be a 130 knot headwind, so we shouldn't expect to make up any time in the air. Oh well, things were out of my hands at that point, so no sense getting bent out of shape about it. :dunno In any case, the delay meant that we were rewarded with the dawn's early light catching the fall foliage perfectly. The hills were ablaze as we powered into the sky.

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    That's Mount Monadnock, down there.
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    My eyelids finally won the struggle against my fascination with the world below, and I snapped back to consciousness to find a cup of cold coffee on my tray table and a markedly different landscape scrolling past the plexiglass.

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    #11
  12. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    You Jet-seter.
    (Sitting in front of the wing no less.)

    :lurk

    Q~
    #12
  13. ramon

    ramon weezin' the juice!

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    :lurk :ear
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  14. Prubert

    Prubert What am I doing HERE?

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    ...just come down and git me in Chicago....grumble, grumble.....

    :bluduh
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  15. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Now I'm not a nervous flyer, but the descent into Chicago had me cinching the seatbelt down as snug as I could make it. For whatever good that would do my 9mo old daughter, back home, when we augered into the ground. :huh The plane was pitching and yawing as if it were a model being flown around the house in the hands of a small child; the flags visible on the buildings below looked as though they'd been painted on sheets of starched plywood.


    Our pilot put us down carrier landing style -- waiting til things were more or less straightened out, then smashing us to the deck before we got bent out of shape again. :devildog But they say that any landing you can walk away from is a good one, and I've got no reason to disagree on this occasion. :knary


    Prubert was waiting on the other side of the security checkpoint, and as I made my way past the huge line, I made a mental note that I'd have to allot a bit more time for the queue on the return flight than I had in Manchester on the way out. We piled into the cage, and set out into the melee that is the morning commute in Chicago.


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    I've always found it amazing what a transportation hub the Chicago area is. From the air, the size of the rail yards and numbers of lines running into and out of the city is staggering. Trains are cool.

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    Following surface streets north was an education of sorts for this white boy from New Hampshah. Poverty in our area is of the rural variety, which is somehow less glaring than its urban counterpart. Perhaps it is because it is simply less compressed; or less intertwined with drug dependancy; or maybe I'm just accustomed to it, and do what most people do when they're presented with something distasteful yet familiar, which is ignore it. Whatever the reason, I couldn't tear my thoughts and gaze away from the scene surrounding us.

    The orange signs say CrackHeads, go away.
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  16. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    And lo, though I drive through the valley of the shadow of the semi, I fear not, for I follow the van of Neduro. :dog

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    Sanford and Son must have been delivering pallets for the campfire at CroMag. Pedestrians beware. Word.

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    The bank thermometer told the tale -- 36degrees (that Fahrenheit, for all you Metric folks. That's be like 2, to you). It's all we'd see all day, though the sunshine wouldn't last. :vardy The same winds that made our landing so interesting would hound us all the way to Duluth, too. :bluduh (BTW, WTF is up with the Fifth Thirds bank?)

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    I've always seen these guys listed as a way to move purchased bikes cross-country, but never actually seen any of their iron on the road.

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    After what must have been about a half an hour, we made it past O'Hare airport. Which is when traffic ground to a halt.

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    I started to have the feeling that I (we?) had grossly underestimated the time that it would take us to get a: from Chicago to Appleton, WI, where the bikes were; and b: from Appleton to Duluth, MN, where our meeting was. Add in both temperature and winds steady in the mid-30's, and this was shaping up to be more of an adventure than I had anticipated. But then, they always are. :1drink
    #16
  17. Deano955

    Deano955 Insatiable

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  18. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Now I should add at this point, that in addition to being a bit of a business trip, and a handy excuse to see some new sights, this trip was also a homecoming of sorts for me. You see, my dad's side of the family hails from Wisconsin, and I grew up in the southern part of the state until we moved east at the age of 12. And so while we weren't going to be travelling exactly in the area in which I lived, I have very fond memories and warm feelings toward Cheeseland. So take my perspectives on the remainder of the trip with the knowledge that they are colored by the rosy haze of the author's youth. :norton


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    Somewhere shy of the Wisconsin border we had lost the sun. Shortly thereafter, we picked up the real "welcome signs". :lol3 :huh

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    My dad grew up in Racine. This one's for you, pop.

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    And my old hometown. It's been a long time.

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    Apparently, the engineers at The Motor Company have been busy working on flying saucers, which is why the bike technology was stagnant for so many years. Harley plants flank both sides of the road through Milwaukee.

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    All in all, the drive north was uneventful, once we cleared Chicago. We were running about an hour behind schedule, but we had called ahead to Duluth to let the folks up there know that we were running late. They said not to worry, but that the weather up there was very cold and blustery -- and that we might want to reconsider taking the bikes up.

    Pru and I had the feeling that this was some sort of test of our mettle, though (was it?), and so the plan remained unchanged. Chow down a quick bite to eat at his house, outfit the borrowed bike with my electronics, and hit the road with as little turnaround time as possible. :gdog
    #18
  19. BuckRider

    BuckRider Long timer

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    Yeah - I keep telling my family in Ohio not to put their money in a bank that has failed at least five times.

    I've asked several people that way what's up with that. Clearly some marketing genious figured if people were dumb enough to trust a bank with a name like that, they'd never notice to fees and skimming from their accounts....

    Can you imagine going to a family reunion: "Hi Nate, I'd like you to meet your fifth, 3rd cousin, Billy-Bob Nathaniel Dumont Orthenstein..." :lol3
    #19
  20. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Mrs. Prubert had lunch waiting for us when we arrived. What a gal.

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    I've been dying for a Culver's Butterburger and Chocolate Shake since Mrs. PackMule and I went cross-country in '03 (we don't have them out East). :dg Had I thought about the fact that we had 370 miles of freezing temperatures ahead of us, however, I may have forgone the shake. No, who am I trying to kid. There was no way I was passing on the shake (which is an absolutely necessary accompaniment to a burger, in the absence of a beer). :slurp

    All of my gear had arrived safely the week before, and I layered up as I got my bike-to-bike (Motocomm) radio set up and attached the oh-so-chic snowmobile handmuffs to the Triumph Sprint ST that Pru had procured for me. Our turnaround time was about 40 minutes, not bad I guess, given that I had to kit up a bike that I'd never seen before. :dunno

    Open the Airlock, ma. Good hunting, boys.
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    Within 5 miles of setting out, we ran into our first squall line of snow. The ignominy of affixing gawdy snowmobile mitts to a motorcycle instantly erased, the SkiDoo "HippoHands" were fast becoming my best $$ to benefit bike purchase yet. And I've bought a lot of farkles over the years. :deal

    For the next 170 miles, we battled shearing headwinds and frequent snowsqualls. The squall lines you could see coming -- a curtain of snow working its way toward us with a closure speed approaching 100mph. Voomp -- you were in it. It was actually fairly fun -- I was warm enough at that point, and knowing that there wasn't a hard frost in the ground yet, I wasn't too concerned that the road surface was going to become unmanagably slick (at least not until the sun went down). And the incredulous looks from the cagers we passed were priceless. :eek1

    What was a little more challenging were the wind gusts. Steady in the 35 to 40mph range, a sudden shift in direction or slackening of the gale would send the bike one direction or the other. My only warning to these sheers was seeing Pru's bike heel over hard without changing course, or rocket from one side of the lane to the other in the blink of an eye.

    In an interesting side note, I found my arms fighting against the wind -- apparently Neduro's "elbows-out" lesson at the clinic had become so ingrained that I never noticed that I was doing it on the streetbike, too. I had to make a conscious effort to let my elbows fall in toward my body so as not to squander precious energy in a futile battle against the wind. Thanks for the "good" habits, Ned! :thumb

    Approaching the 175 mile mark, we stopped for fuel, warm liquids, and a sock-change for Pru. I was glad for the respite. Essentially comfortable, the bar mitts had been a godsend. Coupled with my cheapo nylon vest over my stich (cuts the zipper draft down to zero -- an essential cold weather addition to the Roadcrafter, IMO) and a healthy windscreen on the Sprint, my body was plenty warm. The thermostat on the Widder wasn't even halfway through its range. My feet were getting very cold, though, and I was already wearing the warmest socks that I had. :vardy
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