Why? except for those few exceptions when it converts to an invitation, is a term of criticism. Why, did you do that?…. Why are you going?…Why did (or did you not) do that?
I Don't like Why?
However… What I like, and what answers the question is...
Sun. Rain. Wind.
Am I getting through?
Visiting with the oldest sister (still younger than I), and my Godchild, who in turn now has children, who themselves have children whom I have never seen, and having Easter Sunday dinner, "Grand Ma's way Uncle Mike, (my mother's) just like Grand Ma used to make."
The State Trooper I asked directions of…. "I'm totally lost, officer…" "Okay, sir, but tell me, how much have you been drinking?" "Drinking? I've not been drinking." "Well then, are you diabetic?" "No, not to my knowledge. Why?" "Where you coming from?" "Uh, Maine. Portland, Maine." "Maine? That's about 16-hours north." "Indeed, officer, indeed." "So, that's why your pupils are like saucers."
Well, what do you know?
Easter Dinner, Italian style. All home made….
So what if it took me 14-hours, and got me saucer-eyes.
The air begins to warm somewhere in Pennsylvania, and by the time you reach Maryland, there's not only a different feel to the air, there's a different smell, something you can't experience while encased in a car. The air rushing by the open window is too intrusive - too noisy; the earth's smell doesn't make it passed the air conditioner… With visor up and helmet vents open, the freshness, the newness, the very essence of new life pours in, surrounds and permeates your very being. Then…
Mineral, VA, population 452, but home of great food and beautiful surroundings… And friends you haven't seen in 20-years, but who act as if you had stopped by yesterday.
As you travel through life, you meet many people. Some of them have the correct polarity and you and they stick together and, distances and time-passed notwithstanding, when you next meet it's as if you had only separated to go to lunch. My friends, (and you should be so lucky as to have friends like these) Lori and Chris….
Helped me unload,
Got my machine to the repair shop for a check,
And, got me to the local church's BBQ. Can you beat that?
Yep. The next day they rode with me half way down the state of Georgia, finally stopping at a Subway to get and stuff a foot-long into my bag, open up the maps and made sure that my addled brain could repeat the route I was to continue upon. Can't beat that with a stick.
2,005.8 miles….. My youngest sister's house: my brother-in-law and my only surviving brother. Tired, saddle sore, right wrist sore, just plain everything-hurts-sore – except for my mind. That's vibrant and alive with
Scooter Truths Or Myths You Must Discover For Yourself…
You may actually do no more than the speed limit on an Interstate Highway.
Your wheels are just waiting for the correct speed before they fall off.
Your gas gauge will not fall to empty until you pass the exit ramp that reads, "next gas station: 47 miles".
That semi and other large trucks' speed is strictly controlled via multiple electronic gadgets, such that they never exceed the posted speed limit by more than, say, 5 mph.
That the "Yield" sign for entering vehicles is there for some purpose.
That your presence has no effect whatsoever on other traffic.
That an 18-wheeler, screaming passed you at 20-mph over the speed limit, has no effect on your central nervous system.
Scooter Truths I Have Discovered For You…
To make riding along at 70 mph seem like old hat, ride along at 80 mph for a while.
If you want to get-in a little snooze, ride along at 80 mph for a bit, then drop down to 60 mph. You'll be asleep in no time at all.
Once you're convinced your wheels are not just waiting to fall off, ride along at 70-mph for a bit. It's pretty heady stuff. Then inch-up to 80. After two-minutes, you'll become intoxicated: hooked, as the pushers like to say. Unable to resist the call to twist your wrist.
Okay, back to reality. You need not "fly" on the Interstate - the speed limit is good enough. However…. on a scooter the nerve-dulling, just-a-step-above-boring Interstate ride can be a fun-filled event, what with you being out there where the colors are bright, and the scent of the trees, grass and wildflowers arrive unfiltered. Neat…
Today…. 17hours on the road: North Central Virginia down to North Carolina, through Charlotte… Into South Carolina, passed Columbia… into Georgia - Atlanta, then "Whoa Nellie" for the night.
Actually, it was a cat and it was a bar, but I'm getting ahead of my story… Let me tell you about packing up and getting on the road...
First, make a list of only the items that you must have…. then scratch half of them off. Second, gather all the material on the floor in front of you, look lovingly at all, then throw half of the stuff out. Then try and pack it onto your machine…
Don't try to follow a route using the highway signs. They are either not there, are upside down, or point the wrong way. Your tax money at work. Okay, not too bad on the Interstates, but otherwise…..
Don't even think of riding at the speed limit. Today, if you're not 15 mph over the posted number, you are going to be run over…. This goes double in Pennsylvania…. There, 75 in a 55 mph zone is standard…. standard, I tell you.
Making good time…
Just remember my friend the Italian Pilot. We had been flying for a while and I asked about our location, and how we were doing…. He responded: "Mike, we're lost, but…. we are making fantastic time".
As for real time, remember that 60 mph for two hours does give you 120 miles an hour timing, BUT, if you stop for coffee &, plus fuel, for say, one-half hour, when you start off again, you're down to 90 miles for the two hours. Funny how we all know this, yet hardly ever remember it.
So, the cat says to the bartender, "Do you know the First Rule of Piaggio?" To which the barkeep says, "Can't say that I do."
"The First Rule of Piaggio", says the cat, "Is never lay your machine down on the left side." "Why the left side" says the tender.
"Because, if you do, your crankcase oil will spill onto your air filter and make a big leaky mess. So, if you really insist upon laying it down, do it on the right side."
"But, what will happen if you lay it on its right side?" says the Barman.
"Damned if I know," says the cat. "My motto is, 'One Rule at a time'".
The next day, the cat walks into a bar and asks the Bar Maid, "Do you know the Second Rule of Piaggio?" The Bar Maid takes a swipe with her rag on the bar top, says "What'll you have? And no, haven't got a clue."
"The Second Rule of Piaggio" snickers the cat, "is never, ever park your machine on an incline such that your front wheel is higher than your rear."
The Maid slaps the Guinness down and asks, "Why not?" "Because," says the feline, "Your fuel will run out of your carburetor onto your plug and your machine will not start….. until you call for a tow, get towed to a service center, remove all your gear, call for a taxi to take you to a motel, at which point, and only at that point, the mechanic will attempt to start it - (to see what he can see) - and your machine will start up and run perfectly.
The next day, a cat walked into a bar, with heavy heart and sagging shoulders and said…..
Fuel...Check. Oil...Changed, with filter and Checked...Check. Tire Pressure...Check. Windscreen...Cleaned, cleaner and polish packed...Check. Loaded and position checked for security and non-shiftable...Check.
And so the list continues, and continues, and....
Camera loaded for Bear, clothes laid out, water bottle filled.
"Do I own a machine, or do I own a $4,000 toy, a run-around-town-and-do-errands fun toy
that can occasionally get you the 30-miles to either Brunswick or Kennebunkport?"
So, I sat there thinking:
" What's the real difference between my machine and a comparable motorcycle? I mean, you sit on it – right? You twist your wrist to go, you grab the levers to stop, no? Of course, you need to shift a motorcycle, but other than that, I don't see any big difference.
Also true, some motorcycles can go faster, but I can hold 50 mph all day and get 68 miles to the gallon, so unless you want to zoom, speed's not a big factor. Besides, who wants to go fast? The idea is to enjoy the ride and 50 mph is plenty".
So I said to myself, "Self, why can't I ride my BV to Florida? Why can't I ask my machine to hold 50 mph for say, about 11-hours, with a half-hour break for fuel and rest every two hours?"
I mean, I put 10,000 miles on my machine last year. Did it know that I was only driving in Maine and so if it broke down it'd be no big deal, so it didn't break down? So, I said to myself, "Self, why shouldn't it go 4,000 miles just as easily?"
Which brought me back to the first question: "Do I own a machine, or a $4,000 toy?"
I'm going with I own a machine.
On 19 April, 2014, I'm heading out from South Portland, Maine to Spring Hill, Florida. And... true to my wandering soul, it'll be a true peregrination as I stop to visit various relatives and friends along the way.
So. Here we go....
Maine to Port Jervis, NY....
Port Jervis to Gaithersburg, MD....
Gaithersburg to Mineral, VA....
Mineral to Duluth, GA....
Duluth to Ocala, FL....
Ocala to Spring Hill, FL....
I invite you to join me as I wander southward. I'm taking my Go Pro with me, and my laptop, and, given internet availability, I'll post my progress. Of course, I'll be messaging my family and friends as I go along, and if you'd like the vicarious thrill of knowing where I am when I'm there, just text me at 2072525787 and say "Let Me Know!"
In the meantime, as that masked man always says, soon it will be....