Monday, June 9, 2014
97.791% versus 69.391%
Okay. I made the percentages and numbers up, but not the reality. The reality is this:
I traveled over 3,000 miles, rode through 13 states - twice, and met and passed a whole herd of two-wheelers, both motorcyclists and scooterists, and found that motorcyclists, almost to a person, either initiated or returned a wave from me, a scooterist, while almost half the scooterists I met couldn't be bothered to acknowledge my existence.
Yesterday, my BRW and I traveled over 200 miles and met umpteen motorcyclists. Only three didn't return a wave. We met 7 scooters.... not one returned our wave.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
It didn't matter whether I was teaching SCUBA diving, or deep sea diving, or rock climbing, or winter mountaineering: at some point my students started calling me....
Now, I ask you, what kind of macho image is that?
Okay, so I'm "fussy" about safety. But, you know, at eighteen below and ten-thousand feet, or three-hundred feet down on standard air, you really need to be fussy - or you get hurt, or even worse too. But, like I told my students, I'm still here and in one piece.
Okay, so I was bent once, but I did have a spastic student, eighty-feet down, who flailed and flailed and even got his spearhead stuck in my hood (now that was a funny scene), so I think I can say "extenuating circumstances".
But enough about me.... how do you like my suit? Just kidding....
Here's the question: Why do so many scooterists ride with so little protection?
Like, helmets that will protect you - provided you only bounce along on your head. And, little, if any leg protection, topped off with sneakers, or even Flip Flops. And finally, thin gloves. I don't understand.
Think about this.....
At 30 mph (and who - even 50cc's doesn't travel at 30) you're doing 44 feet a second. If you hit the pavement and skid for 3 little seconds, you've scraped along 132 feet of hard unyielding ground.
At 40 it's 177 feet.
Most of us haven't a clue about distances, so here's a help. 132 feet is a bit more than the distance between telephone polls; 177 feet is just a shade less than 1 1/2 times the distance between the two poles.
Next time you're out take a look at that space.... it's a looooong way.... especially long if you're contributing skin along the way.
Okay. Done. My question is: Why not be as protected as you can?
I Await your response.
Oh, a bit back someone posted a chart on head injuries, and someone else questioned the validity of the chart.... The report is entitled "The Hurt Report". It is fantastic reading. The original chart is on page 277, 278. But, don't jump straight there. Read the report. It can't hurt, might help. (No pun intended.)
Download it. It is good reading. While you are at it, grab and download these two....
Traffic Fatalitiesby State Governors Highway Safety Association
Saturday, May 24, 2014
And now, for the final tally...
The statistics, if you will....
Round Trip Mileage Totals: 3,805.6 Statute Miles, or, 6,124.5 Kilometers.
If you run a map route via highways, you get 2,837 miles: 3,013 via no highways. So, the backroad routes are not much longer, and are certainly more enjoyable.
My average daily mileage was 543.6 miles, 874.9 kilometers, which may have been a bit on the heavy side.
I averaged 53.8 miles to the gallon, and consumed 65.2 gallons, at a cost of $235.95, which breaks down to a per gallon cost of $3.62.
But these are just numbers.... figures that cannot convey the fun, excitement, fear, enjoyment an sheer fun of being on the road on two wheels.
Gear Up! It's Time To Go!
Monday, May 19, 2014
Mineral may only have 400 some-odd folks, but it sure has one killer of a Mexican Restaurant.
Tienes cerveza? No? Bueno, entonces por favor, tráeme agua y para la cena, voy a tener Pollo Con Mole De Jefe, gracias...
Neat. In the south, and not an y'all to be found.
Alla en el rancho grande, alla donde viva
Habia una rancherita, que allegre me decia
Que allegre me decia...
Then, like everything under the Sun, time spent fails to equal time desired, and zoom! It was time to go.
So, off we go - south to Georgia, via (grab your maps) 522, to Powhatan (due west of Richmond), onto 609, which runs and blends into 360, which, in turn, runs south and west almost to the North Carolina border, where you peal south onto 119, which gets you into North Carolina before dumping you onto 158 then 150 which slides you down to Gaffney, South Carolina - at which point I threw in the towel and got onto I-85, which screams South and West right to my next stop: 547 miles from Mineral.
There are good people, there are nice people, there are great people, there are wonderful people, then there is Lori and Chris. They'd been following me via an app on my phone and when they saw I was headed for I-85, they called me, told me where to stop and said they would grab me at that stop. So they rode their bikes 1 1/2 hours north, picked me up, shoveled energy in the form of a large Dairy Queen Sundae into my tired body, then sandwiched me between the two of them and led me to their house. Can it get any nicer than that?
I call the two The Beemer Twins – although not to their face. They both ride l a r g e BMWs (and very well too, thank you) and had ridden up to Maine last summer spending some fun time with us.
This year I was in their territory and we had much fun chasing down BBQ places and eating about every two minutes.
Two days – much too short days later, Chris and Lori, took me out for a fantastic pancake breakfast, then, leading the way, they started me on my final leg: South to Florida.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
It's not always fun and games in the Sun. Sometimes it's doom and gloom, fear and uncertainty, worry and concern...
Mineral, Virginia. One-hundred nineteen miles south. It's 5:30 in the evening. I've been on the road since 4:45 this morning, during which time I've gone from upstate New York, through Pennsylvania and into Maryland – about 262 tiring miles. If I can hold 50 mph, I'm looking at an 11:00 PM arrival.
Back roads are cute. Okay, poor word choice. Nice. Interesting. Fun. All of the above. None of the above. As my father always said, whenever I asked a particularly difficult question: It all depends. At night they're dark. No, make that Black. They have a penchant for making tight sweeping turns; right angle turns, and – in small towns, two "U" turns: one u-turn to get you going back from whence you came, then just fooling, one u-turn to once again head you in the right direction.
And there's nothing out there beyond the feeble beam of your brights. Even less than nothing if you are foolish enough to lower your hi-beams: just two lanes, one in each direction with a painted line down the center.
When you're tired, hungry and chilled from lack of bodily fuel, the road becomes, if not hostile, at the very least, indifferent. "If you make it, fine. If you don't fine. Makes no difference to me", bounces back at you from the glare of your lights.
So you stare into the lighted roadway, watch fearfully as the trees at the edge of your beams grow closer together until there exists nothing but a solid wall of thick menacing entities, whispering to you words that stop just short of your hearing them. Are they words of encouragement, or portends of dangers yet to come, just ever so slightly, ahead.
Deers are nocturnal. Well, really, they're Moon-turnal: up with the Moonrise. Where is the Moon now? Is it up, and thus, so are the deers? Or is it and its horned friends resting?
You stare even more diligently, waiting for that instant when you are not alone on the road, but hurtling at warp speed toward two red circles that hover at eye's height, just at the edge of your beams reach.
Suddenly, on the right side beyond the trees, in the middle of the woods, there appears a huge light. Big, round, brilliantly white. And it's coming at you.
How can that be? It's the forest.... Your tired hands scramble for those levers that read "Stop", and you frantically start squeezing, your body pitching forward violently, yet still the light moves toward you, faster and faster and then....
It's a train, running on tracks that parallel the road, separated only by the thick line of trees that decide which is road and which is track. The eye swishes by, its body following madly behind, "ca clack, clackidy clack, clack, clack and clack. And gone.
And so it goes, minute after minute, hour after hour. At 12:20 AM, I turn the key, kill the engine, kick the kickstand down, and slowly unwind from the seat.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
There was no oasis....
I couldn't get there from here....
All I did was stop at a Dunkin' Donuts....
I twisted that right handle as visions of billowing tents, undulating slowly, embracing and sheltering me from the blazing sun, danced joyously in my mind, where I, languidly reclined, slowly sipped frothy Turkish coffee.
I was on my way to meet Denny at the Sheik's.
It's Sheetz, Not Sheik's! And while they do have espresso, there are no tents, no soft rugs, no blazing Sun, and although their motto has a tinge of Arabia in it, still my dreams just "poof" disappeared.
"Sheetz is a mecca for people on the go. If you need to refuel your car or refresh your body, we have what you need to keep you moving on to whatever comes next."