Archive for motorcycle ride


Almost Wrestlemania Time (Again)

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Is it just me, or are the years flying by quicker than ever? I can remember being seven years old, and it seeming like the summer would never end, each and every day a perfect eternity of youthful, blissful ignorance. Though less blissful these days, I’m still pretty much as ignorant as I was back then, but now it seems the days, weeks and years are blurring past at a frightening pace.

Case in point, it seems just yesterday Dark Meat Snack and I were gearing up for the Road to Wrestlemania XXV ride. Now, here it is, already one year later, and on Wednesday, I’ll be setting out on the Road to Wrestlemania XXVI edition.

Unfortunately, Dark Meat Snack won’t be joining me on the RTW XXVI this year. Why? Well, seems he lost what little remained of his mind and went ahead and got married over Christmas. Since I’ve already been down that dead-end road before (and yes, just in case Sleeping Beauty happens to read this, I may yet go down that road again… someday….) I already know what that means – he’s pretty much done as a riding buddy.

Life goes on, as they say, and so does the show. Wrestlemaina XXVI is being held at the University of Phoenix on Sunday, March 28th. If you’re not planning on attending, make sure and buy the Pay Per View, a T-shirt, and souvenir Championship Title Belt – such generous contributions keep yours truly employed, and I have my heart set on buying a nice Dual Sport this season and getting duuurty in Baja. Sleeping Beauty will be joining me on the second half of the trip – the Road Home From Wrestlemania on March 31st.

Yesterday, freed at last from the garage for a four hundred mile test ride to San Diego, Rain Cloud Follows proved more than ready to go. During our solo jaunt, I promised my faithful Yamaha that on the Road to Wrestlemania XXVI we will go as far as we can.

I further promised Rain Cloud that since this leg of the Road to Wrestlemaina XXVI will include just the two of us, we’d seek out as much strangeness as we could. Strangeness like this grammatically challenged yet inviting place:

In last night’s lonely, Macallan enhanced stupor, trying to stay true to a promise that I made to an inanimate, beat up hunk of metal, worn out rubber and scratched plastic, I came up with the lamest Map-kin yet:

Yes, all the money I spent on art class would have been better spent on a Dual Sport bike. Here is my proposed ride explanation, subject to change based on whim, whimsy, weather or hangover:

This Wednesday, I’m aiming Rain Cloud Follows north, with Death Valley squarely in my sights, stop off in Vegas to win several million dollars at a penny slot machine, drop down into the forbidden city of Bisbee, AZ, visit a real, live nuclear missile silo, stare at some real, live cacti, bust a few real, dead ghosts in their towns, look for the end of the universe at the Kitt Observatory, go peek inside a gigantic hole in the ground left by a chunk of rock that fell from space, repeatedly toast the Best Day Ever, and then finally amble to Phoenix to do a little show called Wrestlemania for 75,000 of my dearest friends.

Once it’s all said and done, and another Wrestlemania is safely in the history books, I’ll brain-vomit out another ride report to kick off the rapidly approaching, and, if time speeds up any more, almost already complete  2010 ride season.

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Sometimes things look better in the morning. My rear tire didn’t. It looked a little… tired. I guess all the playing around and fun we’ve had on all the awesome two lane roads with a slightly overloaded bike does have consequences after all.

Who knew?

I check the tire pressure. It is fine. The tire was starting to show some definite signs of wear, but wasn’t worn down to the cords, and seems to have enough life left in it to get us home, though it would be destined for the used-tire depot-in-the-sky before the next ride.

Within five hundred miles of home, we could either cut across to the boring superslab, or continue exploring the nooks and crannies of California’s beautiful inland two lane roads. The highway would be safer, in the event the rear tire decided to give up the ghost, at least we’d be close to civilization. But back roads are fun.

Guess which option we chose.

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Most every trip has a climactic point, the one moment that defines the entire ride. Many times, the turn around point, when it’s time to stop exploring, stop going further away from home and start returning is that point. Not on this trip. The climatic point actually comes in tomorrow’s earth-shattering finale, so hang in there with me for one more post. Today we’ll just anticlimactically get to that point.

While I was away at GP Suspension, Sleeping Beauty grabbed the map and, after a few minutes of study picked a return route that, if I can manage to follow it, will put the upgraded fork internals through a vigorous workout.

We wind our way out of Oregon City, and head through pleasant, quaint  little towns. The road is more or less straight, and I find myself trying to test the fork by hitting every little bump, crack and pothole I can find. At first, I am not too sure about the improvement, but then again I’m not sure what I expected.

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Welcome to Oregon.

The so-called ‘Beaver State’ is the furthest destination of not only the Oregon Trail, but also of our little joyride. In two short days it’ll be time to turn around and head for home. Of course, if we had a bit more time, and another Map-kin, we’d do what I really want to – keep heading north, all the way to Alaska. Ah well, guess that’ll have to wait until next year…

With all our quirky sightseeing the day before, we know that we’re a little behind schedule.  We’re going to have to put in a fairly long day to reach Oregon City. Once again it’s another of those get-up-and-get-ready-early mornings, Sleeping Beauty’s least favorite kind. Even with a full day ahead, we’re still tourists, and still want to see as many sights as possible along the way. That is the main reason for this ride, to see new things. We decide to make compromises on this day, stopping briefly when we can to take in a view or two. After a quick snapshot of the Battery Point lighthouse in Crescent City to add to the collection, we settle in for the journey ahead.

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Every visit to Napa includes wineries, that’s almost a given. I’d venture to say that a fair amount of visits to Napa also include visits to the pharmacy, to stock up on Advil for the next morning’s inevitable wine tasting hangover. We did both. I doubt that many visits to the world’s most famous wine vine growing region take in some of the more off-beat sights.

I live for off-beat, and riding to a quirky attraction is probably the best reason to ride at all, so, after a fantastic breakfast of Advil and tap water, we’re up early once again (a disturbing trend of ‘up early’ seems to be evolving on this trip) to take in the quirkier sights of the area.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that for the first time in recorded ride report history, somehow Sleeping Beauty was actually awake, geared up, packed and ready to ride before I was. Long before. And I heard about it for the rest of the day. I’ll just chalk it up to a lucky coincidence, and too much wine tasting in Napa, and leave it at that.

Our first stop of the day, touted as being featured in National Geographic, promises to be one of those Crap-Tastic roadside amusements that always sound much much better than they turn out to be.

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