Intervention, Rollin’ Heavy, and Walking Cranes

I finally got to ride with a group,…woohoo!!! :):):)

Joined Asphalt & Iron on their ride through the Ocoee National Forest.

Wow they are huge with more than 6K members. We met up at Wawa. Apparently that’s a favorite group meetup point. Rough guess, close to 200 bikes were there. I was like, what did I get myself into?!

As small groups took off, I realized it’s just a popular starting spot for bike groups. When we left we had a group of 14 bikes, probably around 20 people. They are quite an adept bunch. Very smooth, predictable, and respectful.

It was a sweet ride, the air smelled fresh and there was so much incredible scenery. The sky was crystal blue with lots of Herons and Egrets flying by. We had to stop at one point to allow a couple of them to walk across the road. We rode by a LOT of ponds and lakes

After 70 or so miles we stopped at Black Bear Pub for lunch. I’m usually the guy in the corner check work emails and surfing Facebook. I was doing that until I was hit with INTERVENTION!!!

A few of the women on the ride scolded me for behaving like an outcast – they weren’t having it.

I was under duress so I started to talk. Not always a good thing if you know me. I guess that whole intervention thing works. I need to learn more about this strange phenomenon “socializing”.

We head out again. Along some of the stretches a few of us have a bit of calculated fun accelerating along some long stretches. On one stretch the couple ahead of me take off and a bandana nearly hit me, I came so close to catching it!

Later I found out it was a 20 year old bandanna that has a lot of memories attached to it. The group didn’t stop to get it. The whole thing reminded me of a viral video…

https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/video/man-pranks-wife-while-driving-in-their-car/vi-AAz13lW

We ended up at Shovelhead Lounge where an amazing group Rollin’ Heavy played through midnight. Two guitarists, one bassist, a drummer, and a lead singer. I’ve got to tell you, they absolutely nailed it! It would have been a successful bootleg recording!

(Not my image)

All along the ride at all the stops I had my usual Pepsi or Coke. Hypoglycemia sucks. I don’t respond well to alcohol, unless it is (up to) one beer after a good meal, and ONLY if I’m not riding

The music was sooo good it reminded me of a Monsters Of Rock that I went to in Nürenberg in the early 80’s.

It started getting late so I head out. When I got home I posted the group’s expected “Got home safe” post on their Facebook page. I passed out and woke up Sunday afternoon

I checked my trip odometer and saw I had 205 miles for the day. Not too shabby!

I’m looking forward to doing this again!

CVMA, DD-214, and Michelin Man

Funny thing happened on my way to join the local chapter fo the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association as a Supporting member, since I did not see combat in my US Army 1979-85 stint. I decided to leave my leather vest at home, since I never wear patches. I decided a long time ago if I ever wear patches, it would be in support of our US Military.

So I head out on the 30 or so mile trek from home (Ocoee, FL) to Seminole Harley-Davidson in Sanford, FL. Its a beautiful day, mostly clear blue sky. I’m doing about 10 over the speed limit, low enough to not be pulled over (hopefully), and sadly slower than most of the traffic around me.

So I’m in Interstate 4 wearing my favorite Harley Davidson short sleeve shirt. You know, the one with snaps instead of buttons. Funny how that thing ballooned on the highway when the wind hit me. Felt like the Michelin Man! It was funny, but also annoying, I felt like it was slapping me on the chin, ala Nate Diaz.

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I didn’t mind it too much, except I figured I looked really stupid.

When I arrived at the dealer, I locked the bike, grabbed my application papers, and when I reached into my shirt pocket that’s when I noticed my Passport, DD-214, California Motorcycle Registration, and California Firearm Registration were gone.

Well, shit.

I got to the dealer and asked around to see if I could find the group. Nobody heard of CVMA or Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association. Strange. I posted to their Facebook page, got a few responses. They were upstairs, so I headed there. Found they were meeting in an office, with some folks in the hallway.

Turns out I wasn’t able to join since I needed a paper copy of my DD-214. I have a picture of it that I took to send to the Orlando Harley dealer (inquiring about discounts). But CVMA won’t accept a picture. Oh well, rules are rules. So I’ll need to request more copies, although I have two more copies in my car (which I haven’t shipped to FL yet).

I’m just relieved the really important stuff like my California Drivers License, my US Homeland Security Global Entry card (which required my DD-214), credit cards, medical cards, etc., were all safely stored in my wallet, chained to my belt loop.

I ordered a new Passport and a new DD-214. Not sure if I’ll need to order a copy of my California registration for the Harley, since I have 30 days from Oct 22 to get it registered in FL. As far as the California firearm registration, well, Kamala Harris can suck fierce arctic moose dick.

I guess I won’t be able to go to the CVMA Florid Rally this coming weekend. With only a few months of riding weather, well, sucks what a gust of wind can do. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Day 7: Florida, I am in you

Odometer is at 20,500 miles…I made it to third base! 😄

Route:

I took the lower route, starting with the 10, then the 20, then meandered until I got to Orlando, FL.

California to Arizona to New Mexico to Texas to Louisiana to Mississippi to Alabama to Georgia to Florida.

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Hotels (includes taxes/fees):

  • $65.20 Oct 16 Days Hotel by Wyndham (Mesa, AZ)
  • $73.44 Oct 17 Red Roof Inn (Van Horn, TX)
  • $90.93 Oct 18 Plaza Inn (Big Spring, TX) *Unscheduled, work emergency*
  • $64.22 Oct 19 Days Inn by Wyndham (Irving, TX)
  • $46.30 Oct 20 Inn @ Meridian (Meridian, MS)
  • $57.43 Oct 21 Motel 6 (Macon, GA)
  • $74.10 Oct 22 Wingate by Wyndham Convention Center (Orlando, FL)

Meals:

I came in at under $50 per day for breakfast (McDonalds!), lunch (diners), dinner (supermarket food at hotel), water (lots), and snacks (mostly junk).

Mechanicals:

  • Handlebar lock cylinder rusted, I’ll hit it with WD-40 tomorrow (else Harley Davidson will need to replace it; has to match ignition lock key!).
  • USB/SAE adapter rusted pretty bad, I’ll need to revamp wiring to prevent that from happening next time.engineer-workflow

Gas mileage:

Looks like my average was in the high 30’s to the low 40’s. I felt like I was in a headwind all the way! I was trying to stay 10MPH above the speed limit, but I have to admit those long stretches of smooth road/highway begged me to go faster.

I hit 106 on one of those long Texas stretches. I realized on this trip that the reason my bike never got past 95 was because of cable slop. Comanche Cycles fixed the slop, now I hit 105 without any effort, at which point I back off since I’m a pussy.

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Learned:

  • Rain gear…buy it and use it and put it on BEFORE it rains.
  • Come up with a better solution for running SAE/USB cable to handlebar.
  • Viking Saddlebags are not waterproof. #wellDuh
  • Remember to bring small WD-40 and a roll of Duct Tape.
  • Bring more ziplock bags than you can imagine you’ll ever need (different sizes!).
  • 10 zip ties were not enough (really, maybe bring two sizes next time too!).
  • Be smarter about where you pack stuff (realized after second day I had to unpack/repack to make sure the stuff I needed was easiest to get to on the road).
  • Nets, nets, and more nets…needed third net to attach second helmet to sissy bar.
  • When merging onto the highway and the road is wet, try not to accelerate so fast (fishtailing was fun but in hindsight probably wasn’t the smartest thing).

Saddlemen:

I can’t say enough good things about this Saddlemen. Their S3500 bag is as bullet proof as they come, and WOW all those pockets! Their Step-Up LS gel seat felt sooo much better than the buckets found on touring bikes.

Place to live:

I arranged to rent a room before I left CA, but after a couple days I got a call from the home owner saying he had to pull the listing. He wanted to help displaced families (Hurricane Michael). He gave me some other options, very grateful to him for being honest and helpful.

I ended up finding a room for rent about 30 min from Celebration, FL. Rent is fair, and the neighborhood is really very nice. I can park my Harley Davidson in the garage, and I can park my Honda CR-V on the street once it arrives.

There’s probably more to write about, but I’m exhausted. Tomorrow I’m going to run some errands and get settled in. Then I go to the office on Wednesday.

Can’t wait to do this again!

Day 6: Heloooo sun!

Today is an SPF 50 day.

Crystal blue sky and cheap gas!

Crystal blue sky and cheap food.

Today is a 300 mile day so I adjusted the route to pass the Edmund Perth Bridge at the Alabama River. #bloodySunday

Today was fairly event free, except for the beauty of the sky during sunset. Full moon and all. I took lots of little breaks and side trips, after 5 days of hauling ass and dealing with some rain. Consider today a rest day. 🙂

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Day 5: Annie was right

The clouds finally gave way to sunlight. Not a lot, but enough to put the rain gear away. Got a late start today from Irving, TX, so it was about 2200CT when I got to Meridian, MS.

I needed to cover 500 miles, starting around Noon. I realized half way through today’s trip that I couldn’t see through my windshield.

Not ready to rinse Sucio down yet, so I used the bottle of Plexus I bought at CycleGear. It did wonders to the windshield, everything that was stuck to it came off without effort.

I made sure I wore my gloves so I didn’t get any of if on me (silicone product).

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Pretty sad that this was the highlight of a boring day, ey?

But wait, there’s more!

Four more seedy hotels, and I get my fifth for free! 🙂

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On a sad note, the liner on my drink holder flew off. I’ll get it replaced once I’m in FL.

Day 4: Rain, Sucio, rust, Kinfolk MC, Infidels MC

Odometer is at 19,211. Sucio is purring like a kitten, thanks to Comanche Cycles in Simi Valley, CA!

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Today’s route was pretty straight forward, even though the road was mostly straight, it had enough curves and slight rollers to keep it interesting. Not even close to being a big boring interstate:

Oh, it rained, just a bit. I’m loving Carrot for iOS , snark and all!

The rain ruined my iPhone charging setup. The SAE to USB adapter rusted out. So did the long cable I had attached to it. Both went into the trash.

I think I’ll use my power packs for now, and get the bike wired so the USB cable is under the seat as some have suggested.

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Is it me, or is Sucio looking happier than a pig in shit ?!

While I was at a gas station, I met some Kinfolk MC guys (1%) who were riding to Dallas. They allowed me to hang with them since I was heading in the same direction. Of course I stayed in back out of respect to their group.

This was the first time riding side by side, instead of staggered. Somehow it felt safer than staggered. Despite doing 75 on wet highway roads. It was an awesome experience.

On the next gas stop we saw some Infidels MC guys. For some reason I thought they were a 1% club too. I didn’t know what to expect. The guys in the two clubs didn’t know each other, but they were quick to meet and greet. Man the level of brotherhood was awesome to witness. #respect

The Kinfolk MC leader gave me his card, told me to keep in touch, and I do plan to. Out of respect I won’t show the other side that has the leader’s contact name and number. After topping off we headed back on the road and I peeled off a few miles later.

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The rest of the route from Simi Valley, CA to Orlando, FL is undefined at the moment. I decided to pick a route each morning, splitting the rest of the trip into 3 days. This way I can avoid any potential Category 4 hurricanes, and any roads that were swept out to sea.

Day 3: Rain, Odessa, and work

(Click on “Watch on Facebook”)

Today started with light rain. So much for weather forecasts.

I put on my rain jacket, but dummy me, forgot to put on the rain pants. Never knew how heavy a fully soaked pair of jeans can get. 🙂 Boots got soaked too, enough that I was able to pour out water once I got to a hotel.

I only did about 220 miles, since I got a call from my team asking me to stop and help fix a shell script. Figured I’d camp out here in Odessa. Found a cheap hotel room (*), logged in and resolved the issue.

Ordering food now. Hoping I can catch the new Myans M.C. episode.

Tomorrow I’ll complete the trip to Irving, TX, but I might extend it  a bit since I no longer need to stop there. I originally planned to possibly squat at our corporate office for a day.

(*) Hotels so far were $58 (Tue) and $67 (Wed) and $59 (Thu). All were 2 star; guest rating of 3.5 or higher.

 

 

Day 2: Late start, then drizzle

I got a late start today, unfortunately the only pictures I have are screenshots of the weather forecast (50 mph complete with snide remark, thanks Carrot!), and of the route (thanks Bad Elf!).

Thanks to a wealth of feedback and mentorship from Society of Riders, I have finally overcome my fear of riding in the rain.

That, and I was freezing my fucking ass off and wasn’t about to stop.

The first half of the ride went smoothly, humming along between 80-90 MPH, but it was sunny and dry (I try not to go more than 10 MPH over the speed limit).

The second half was rain, well, drizzle. So I slowed to 10 mph under the speed limit. That was, until other motorcyclists, cars, and truck zoomed past me at the speed limit (80 MPH) or faster. So I brought it back up to the speed limit and didn’t have a problem.

When I got within 100 miles of the Red Roof Inn in Van Horn, TX, the temp was dropping down to the mid 50’s. I stopped for gas one last time, and I bought a coffee. Well, the coffee ended up being free. The guy behind the counter was probably thinking “What kind of dumb fuck rides a motorcycle in the rain?”

This dumb fuck. I’m a firm believer in riding the shit out of my bike.

Plus, this all makes me a bad ass. 🙂

Well, unless you see someone riding a wheelie across the whole US. The. Whole. Fucking. Country.

Compared to him, I’m a pussy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Note to self…put on rain suit before it rains.

Day 1, Part 1: Early start…then ChapMotor happened

17,788 on the odometer.

Packed and finally heading out.

Wait. Something’s not right in the back. The helmet doesn’t seem to be attached securely. I better stop at Chaparral Motorsports, since it’s on the way

And rain pants. Gotta have rain pants. You never know, a torrential storm can happen, right? Thats right, it isn’t always drought’y here in SoCal.

Rule #1. Never stop at this place early in the morning on the first day of your cross country trip.

This place is so fucking huge, you need a bottle of Gatorade and a Powerbar just to get to the other side. It’s the Cabela’s of the motorcycle world.

I gave myself 30 minutes. That’s it. Not a minute more. Got it?!

Well, as Tiny would say: “When I went to school 30 minutes was one half hour…NOT a full hour!”

Well, I found what I needed. Rain pants and a helmet net. A full hour was needed because there is always the possibility the next isle will have the perfect helmet net…or rain pants.

Wait. Wat? No rain pants in the All Terrain Vehicle section? Well I’ll be damned. Who would’a thunk it.

Aha! The next isle should have helmet nets. I mean what kind of shop doesn’t store helmet nets in the Oakley section?

Ok, I know, back on the road…after I take a picture of the valley hills I’m passing…

…and after a late breakfast at Denny’s.

PS Shout out to all who gave me so much valuable advice on gear, packing, planning, etc.

Last ride with Society of Riders before relocating to Florida

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This is my last weekend in California. What better way to spend it than to ride with my favorite club Society of Riders. Easy ride today, from Simi Valley, to Ojai.

This brings my total to 17,697 so far. The cross country ride is roughly 2,500, so figure I’ll hit 20,000 by the time I hit Florida.

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I’ll be clearing out the garage tomorrow and hopefully getting to sleep early to get a good night’s sleep for the first day of riding on Tuesday.

I know what direction I’m heading, but I’m deciding each daily route the night before. This way I can account for weather.