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Topic: Funerals, Mortality, Life: With a heavy heart I Ride From NJ to SE Ohio  (Read 4647 times)

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tankhead
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« on: April 10, 2012, 05:04:59 PM »

So the bike is almost packed.  The plans are set, well really not set at all, just the routes.  Last minute changes to the spring break vacation my wife and I were to have. Originally, I had made arrangements to stay in Myrtle Beach in my buddy's condo.  We had been there for a long weekend when we were dating in 08 and wanted to go back. We haven't been away traveling since last easter where we spent 12 days in southern Spain. As time pressed on I decided to scratch the Myrtle Beach idea and surprise my wife with a 2 night stay at a couple's resort.  A week before the scheduled departure we got some bad news.  My wife's best friend's sister took a turn for the worse and her deteriorating health from battling cancer for the last ten years was nearing the end and hospice was brought in and well, they told the family to prepare for her passing.  Saturday evening my wife got a text while we were in bed.  We both looked at each other and knew.  We just knew.  Easter morning we got on the Buell and made the rounds.  We visited with her best friend, I bought a asiatic lily and my wife baked two loaves of bread, packed them in the panniers and presented them with love to our friends.  Through the tears and silence, just our presence was well received, for her and her fiance. From there, we visited with more friends in Woodbine and then my family in Vineland.  Sunday evening while sitting around the fire, my wife told me that she hopes I still take advantage of my time and go on a motorcycle trip that I have been itching for, while she spends time with Mary. My wife had taken three work days off and I felt bad about that.  I told her that it would be hard for me to miss the viewing and funeral and I would not want to offend her friend.  She said that she would understand. So I decided to visit an area I have yet to ride: South Eastern Ohio. Many years I have sat looking at Gary's website www.motoroads.net in wonderment. And after SWriverstone's recent ride report that sealed the deal.  I contacted a fellow ADV rider for tent space in Morgantown area for the first night.  After that, depending on the weather, I plan on camping in or around the south eastern part of Ohio.  I haven't been on a solo trip for a long time.  Pegs down for Lynne.  You will be missed by all.  I ride with you in my mind and in my heart. More to come.
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2012, 06:30:09 PM »

Ah Life!  You know the saying, It's not an adventure 'till shit goes bad...."  Well let the adventures begin.

Left the house before the sun popped above the Atlantic completely. Had a bad night sleep. My wife briefly mentioned snow in western PA today, but I quickly dissmissed it thinking that that should not effect me due to the route planned was farther south.  So with that, I kissed the girls and my wife and was off.  Had the heated jacket on full blast along with the grips.  Winter hat and neck gaitor also. Quilted liner in the Cortech mesh pants and the Cortech winter riding gloves.  I thought it was overkill, actually I was going to forego the quilted liner in the pants due to the fact that I had the Nike winter tights on, but better safe than sorry, I thought, because of past experiences.  

The bike that I ride is a 2009 Buell Ulysses.  I love that bike but not as much as I loved my 2006 Buell City-x.  The Uly, in the beginning of my ownership, had intermittant battery problems.  The bike sometimes would just not start.  I have had to have it jumped more than once.  I have the garmin wired directly and the power cord too, so I thought I was taxing the battery.  The dealer told me that everything was fine.  Then the fuel pumpe fuse starting blowing, causing me to have the bike towed twice to the dealer.  First at my cost, the second time, they came and picked up the steed.  Fuel pump was toast and they warrantied it even though it was a couple days past the date (really it was because they never succesfully fixed the on going problem.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 02:04:56 PM by tankhead » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2012, 07:15:39 PM »

Anyway, I travelled west , through the Univerity of DE, Conowingo Hydroelectric plant bridge, skirted route 1 on the most wonderful undulating twisty bits of broken back roads.  I was really enjoying myself.  I was excited to ride a part of MD that I had been on before 138-137.

Here are some of pics of the day:
Packing the day before
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH001.jpg

This morning
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH002.jpg

I love these old school Md structures near Fair Hill:
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH005.jpg


Lovely one  lane bridge on the back roads to route one:
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH006.jpg

Twisty back roads are worth the somewhat out of the way direct route west, if not slower than taking 95,

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH008.jpg

but then I would not be able to meet some new friends:

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH011.jpg

Or be so close to the bursting of spring colors:
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH009.jpg
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 02:05:38 PM by tankhead » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2012, 07:54:04 PM »

Death: Sad

I had our friend Mary on my mind during today's ride.  Her sister dying, me not being there, my wife going alone to the viewing and funeral.  As I rode through Ken Denton's neck of the woods in Salem County NJ, I swiftly rode by this:
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH003.jpg

I turned the Buell around, stopped, and stared.  

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH004.jpg

The carcass is that of a very large, and very dead, snapping turtle.  A powerful animal, whose bite could easily snap a finger or toe clean off.  I thought about the turtle, it's power, it's strength.  I was humbled in thinking that no matter how strong, or how powerful we are, we will never be strong enough to survive forever.  We will all meet our fate someday and as I get older I seem to dwell on this fear of this inevitable end.  The desire to get IT all in before I am too old, too fearful, or too sick to travel by motorcycle has, well, become a problem.


A recent thread by SWriverstone had me thinking of the feeling of fear before I travel by bike.  I can empathize with this and today more than usual.  It seems odd to me that the fear often fades by the time I am a couple yards from my house, with my full attention to the surrounding traffic, pedestrians, pot holes, etc. Today that fear would become very real and unfortunately cause me to cut my travels for the day a little short.  Stay tuned.....

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH012.jpg
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2012, 08:17:17 PM »

Awesome already. Thumbsup   :popcorn:
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2012, 09:12:16 PM »

 Rose Rose Rose
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2012, 09:44:17 AM »

Snow in April.  I stopped in Hereford Md for a HOT cup of Joe.  I hopped off 138 and just before making the turn onto 137 I stopped at the shopping center with a 7/11.  I was surprised how cold I was.  After my purchase I stood at the front of the store for a bit trying to warm up.  I finished the cup of warm blackness and loaded up with the helmet, ipod on the Sena, connect the heated geat, go to start up the bike.....iddidididiiddidididididi. nothing.  Try again dididididididididididiididi,n nothing.

Dead Battery. Dead.

Called Frederick Harley asked if they have a battery for the Uly.  They had four.  COOLIO.

Pizza guy next door said he had some jumper cables and that he would be right back after putting in an order.  A few minutes later he came out, pulled his jeep around, and quickly set things up.  I on the other hand could not find my keys.  I checked each and every one of the one hundred and one pockets on textile jacket. Then I remembered......They are in the seat latch release.  In one second the bike fired right up.  We sat for a bit and then I asked him to take the cables off while I shut the bike down.  Sure enough the bike fired up, now all I needed to do was keep the bike running for the sixty miles to Frederick MD.  With that the fuel light popped on...... and then it started hailing..........Stay tuned
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2012, 10:32:28 AM »

 :popcorn:
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2012, 01:01:04 PM »


 :popcorn:


+1

I'm gripped  Thumbsup
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2012, 09:25:51 PM »

Hail has an interestng way of making one think while riding a two wheeled machine, "wow that hurts and damn I cant see!  In the distance as I rolled out on to route 137 that the worst was yet to come," but as I looked at my GPS I saw that I might be able to out run ithe squall.  I pushed the turns while I wiped my visor with my left glove that has a wiper on the thumb (ingenious Cortech).  I rest the the GPS to Frederick and successfully out ran the squall.  Sun on my face, the bike pointed south and got to the Harley dealer while the cloud was left behind panting trying to catch me.  

I shut the bike off and started it back up in the parking lot.  I then shut it off again and walked in.  Went to the service desk, and the lady said can I help you.  I said yeah I called earlier about the battery for my Uly.  Oh, she said, see the man at the other desk, this is for rentals.  

Walked to the next desk.  Hi I called about the battery for my Uly. Yep we have one, said the tatted up, bald headed pirate service provider.  I said before I purchase the battery I was wondering if we could check real fast and see if the battery has a charge at all, because I have stopped to get gas and then in your parking lot.  Both times I started the bike up without a problem.  He said he would have to charge me a half hour service fee of forty dollars.  Thanks but non thanks and walked out to the brawney looking Uly, turned the key and got back on 70 to 68.
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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2012, 09:41:32 PM »

About five miles from Gransville MD it started snowing, and then it started really snowing, so much so that the 40' trailers that I was passing were spraying mist from the road and my vision became severly impaired.  Using the trusty thumb wiper on my glove, it just couldn't compete with the amount of shit that was getting on the visor.  Pulled of at the next exit and found a Comfort Inn.  Here are a couple pics:

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH022.jpg

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH023.jpg

Here are some of the blooms before the blizzard:

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH021.jpg
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH018.jpg

They were everywhere.
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« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2012, 09:51:29 PM »

CCCCCChhhheckeeeeedddddd iiiiiinnnnnttttttto my freakin room.  Even with the heated jacket on high, winter skull cap, neck gaitor, gloves, heated grips, doing 70 mph for about an hour in 30 mph winds in your face along with 38 degree weather in the wet snow for five miles, I WAS COLD.  Got warm, ordered food for the room, typed up some of the report, reset my trip for tomorrow, talked to my wife, ate, brushed my teeth, and went to bed.  While trying to sleep I kept having visions of my back wheel cutting it to close to the edge of the road and continually physically moved my body in bed trying to avoid the pretend drop offs.  

All a primer for the next days ride.......
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 07:10:09 PM by tankhead » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2012, 10:15:38 PM »

 Bigok
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2012, 11:15:33 PM »

Before we begin today's ride, let us review my geographic home location.  In a word: FLAT!  Another word: straight.  Another few words: lame, uninspiring,  suckthebigone.  
I have not been on any twisty roads since the incredible twisties in Spain this time last year.  

With that said I waited untill 11 to hit the road, just to let any ice melt on the back roads.  Took 68 to 42.  I wrote down instruction the night before and stuck them in the tank bag map pocket.  I was too tired the night before to beat my head against the wall with my netbook that constantly freezes up and sucks.  So after 42 I was looking for a road named Blooming Rose Road.  Well as soon as I pulled on to it this what I saw......
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH025.jpg

What does that sign up ahead say.....

Oh hell yeah
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH026.jpg

Well the road was everything I had hoped along with undulations which I didn't think I would experience untill Ohio. From there CR11 to Mountaindale Rd., Brandonville Pike to Woolen Mile Rd.  Think pocked mark goat trails with twists, turns, and elevation.  Woolen mile road reminded me of Wycoff Road.  Here is the documentation:
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH030.jpg

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH028.jpg

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH027.jpg
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 11:22:48 PM »

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH032.jpg

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH031.jpg

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH035.jpg

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH034.jpg

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/WV-OH036-1.jpg

The second half of my day was great.  I leave you with this.   6 inch deep gravel, a biting dog, and fear.
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« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2012, 07:17:39 PM »

I just got back earlier.  460 miles today.  I 'm beat catch up in the morning.
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« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2012, 09:27:07 PM »

 Thumbsup

Well-written, sir.  Great pics, too.  

A +1 for you.  And yes hail on two wheels is hell.
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« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2012, 11:07:38 AM »

I eventually found myself on RT250 which I knew from the trip planning would eventually lead me to Wheeling, where the Ohio twisty roads were calling.  Some of the early sections of 250 were BORING but once I got away from the small towns the road led to some serpentine goodness that exemplifies riding in the Mountain State.  Then, out of a right hand turn, what is that, a truck approaching flashing his high beams.  Cop scouting it's prey.  Slow down.  Wait that's not a cop, that is a road block.  People turning around.  I pulled up to the yellow and orange vested man in charge.  He said a truck is across the road in a ditch and he doubted that I would fit through.  If I go back before the bridge and make a right and then make another right that would take me to 250, of course that meant that I would miss the tastiest of turns, because that was where the truck lay dormant. Clouson Wv is where the twisty bit was.  Check your maps for Crimney crom, trust me it was a goodun (as they say out here).  So I double backed, made the right, and what was that?  Not a paved road, not a dirt road, nope, not at all, it was a road made of crushed fist sized rock.  Now when it crushes up in a few years it probably is not that bad, but the construction signs proved that the WV road crew spent the week laying down a fresh blanket of rocky slag that left me plowing my front tire deep into the six inch layer.  Another right hand and what's that I see, oh, it is a line of cars coming at me on the wonderfully moon crested "road" filled with the slaggy scree.  A dude in a Pathfinder stopped as I prepared to take a photo of the road before my predicted fall, gracefully accepting my surely expected dumpage of bikeage.  "Hey man, I would not take this hill up on your bike.  I ride also and I would not take your bike up that hill, all fresh rock." If you can, turn the bike around and go to the next right and then a right after that.  Still rock, he said, but not as bad, one more after that and then it joins 250."  OK thanks man.  Turned the loaded 550lb bike around (fuck that was hard) and made the turn.  Here is the documentation:

http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/IMG_6557.jpg
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/IMG_6558.jpg
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 11:45:41 AM by tankhead » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2012, 11:14:52 AM »

So this road, as he said was much better.  I stood on the pegs and comfortably set the speed at about 15-25 mph.  If you notice in the last pic, a faint view of a orange road sign and underneath that a fresh section of rock, well as I drove around and past that the new rock become more and the old road rock less and less.  Plowing the front end through the shit I found myself at the second right hand that he told me to take.  A quick right to take the left hand switchback, at a 10-15 degree rise with what do you guess......... wait for it.................. why sure a construction sign and a mother humping shit load of fresh rock.  Now I figured it out.  They were filling in eroded sections, duh, and picked this week to do such wonderful work.  A brief second I thought about turning around and then said f#uck it, go for it.  And that is just what I did, as the the canine from hell waited in the shadows for me................
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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2012, 11:36:20 AM »

Wheeew, standing on the pegs leaning forward with a steady hand on the throttle, I tractored my Uly up that hill with the brilliance of the finest noob on the planet.  Front wheel digging, moving my body around the bike as needed, keep on the throttle, speed is your friend, slowing down will flop you like a waffle. There is the top, a little farther, stay steady on the throttle.  Around another blind right hander I crested the hill, and without a second to celebrate in my mind, on my right, I saw a bouncing ball with a boy running after it, and then on my left, a white flash of hell approaching me with teeth and a bark that was from the bowels of Satan himself.  My ankles, he is nipping at my ankles, barking, if not, laughing at the noob plowing the front tire, back wheel sliding in the opposite direction from the initial instinct to throttle down upon being threatened by the demon dog. I kicked once, twice, beeping my horn that had the impact of an infant farting. Screaming at the dog and throttling all while, the demon stopped his torment upon me and I continued for a couple miles through the slag encrusted road to the top of another hill where the broken asphalt of that road accepted me and my bike with great pleasure.  I stopped the bike in the parking lot of a cemetery and screamed at the top of my lungs in my helmet MOTHER FUCKER>!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here is the fucking road....


The last hill to the top where my bike was parked.
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/IMG_6562.jpg

Here is the road and how it was laid out on the side of the ridge.

The grey house is where the boy was and demon dog
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/IMG_6563.jpg
The end of the road is the end of the hill on the other side of the trees.
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/IMG_6564-1.jpg
My bike laughing at me. With the reminder of death in the backgroundhttp://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x154/tankheadxb9sx/IMG_6560.jpg
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 10:01:52 PM by tankhead » Logged
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