Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wrap-Up For the Trip

Well, this adventure is over.  As usual, this final post will attempt to give a summary of the trip, as well as to feature highlights and lowlights for things I saw, did, or felt.

I think the overarching thing to say about the trip was that it was HOT.  I know every post talked about the unrelenting heat, and that readers are tired of reading about it, but it was such a dominating feature that it can't be downplayed.  It was just so very hot on almost every day.  I'm sure I sweated many gallons as my body tried to keep from overheating.

The punctured tire was the first harbinger of bad things to come.  Brand new tire leaking air is not a good thing with which to start a trip of several thousand miles.  While I was able to successfully plug it to get to the BMW MOA rally, having to buy and get a new one installed there was a bit of a downer.  It's just money!

I enjoyed traveling with my friend, Tony, going out there and hanging out together at the rally.  He's a neat guy and an easy traveler.  He rides very well and his riding style is similar to mine, so I enjoyed riding with him very much.

Bought too much "stuff" at the rally.  No, not really, but I did go through more money than I had planned.  One item, the cooling vest, is going to be returned to the vendor because it did not work like it should have worked.  The RT has such large fairings and wind protection that there just isn't enough air flow for the vest to do its job.  So, the vendor will refund my purchase price when I get it back.

My phone malfunctioning was a pain.  I rely a lot on my phone to keep in touch with family and friends, to check the weather conditions on the roads ahead, and to keep up with email and texts.  Also to surf the net.  So, when my phone is broken, it is a big issue for me.  I arranged a makeshift "fix" (who, but me, carries a spare phone with them on trips?) with an older phone until a replacement was shipped to my next hotel down the road.  It all worked out, but it was a hassle for the trip.

The Unrally was a bit disappointing.  The organized ride on Wednesday was great; I enjoyed it very much.  But most of the people there knew each other very well and I was not able to break into the groups to join in with them.  It might have been me, but while individually friendly, once they were in their groups, I was an outsider.  Glad I went to it, but doubt that I'll go to another.

And, of course, the traffic stop was something that was surreal.  I still can't believe it happened, and if someone had told me the story, I'm not sure I would have believed me.  I still don't know what got the attention of the law to begin with, but I think I understand how the rest of it played out.  It was very scary, and I'm glad I was able to keep my cool and eventually answer questions to explain things from my perspective.  One of the continuing things that bothers me is that the bad cop is out there riding the roads in KS.  I am convinced that if he had been the one in charge, or if he (alone) had stopped me, I would have ended up in jail at a minimum.  When it's your word against his, who is going to believe the citizen's word over the word of the authority?  I've thought it over many times, and I don't know of anything I would do differently if it were  to happen again.  I will get and install some additional mirrors on the bike, but I will continue to wear ear plugs to save what is left of my hearing.  In the end, it turned out okay, but it was as scared as I've been in many many years.

The trip was 16 days and covered 5,125 miles.  Other than headlights burning out, the bike itself performed very well.  I will find the cause of the Motolights failing, and will fix it soon.  I had the punctured tire shipped home, and will install a patch over the hole so it can be used in safety without fear of leaking.  The plug alone would probably hold, but installing a patch is not difficult or expensive.

The scenery in western USA is just amazing.  I love to ride the roads that seem to go on forever, with very little traffic, and landscape vistas that are breathtaking.  Just beautiful.  Animals that we don't see here in the east help to make it even more interesting.  Rock formations that are impossible in the east abound in the west.  I love to ride in the western states.

However, there's one "but", and that is the weather.  The last two years' big trips have been brutally hot, and I'm going to have to reassess whether or not I'm up to another trip out west.  If so, it will have to be when it's cooler; I just don't think I can take another extended period of heat like this year.  A scattered day or two of heat is doable, but day after day of 110 degree heat just saps all the strength I have, making it a day of riding and rest, with nothing else possible.  I'll have to go when it's cooler.

So, this concludes this ride to the rallys.  I enjoyed it, and I'm glad I did it.  Glad to be home safely.

Until next time...

Back Home

This is another twofer, my last one for this blog.  It covers the last two days of my ride back home.  The objective for Tuesday was to get across Tennessee into Asheville.  I did that, with no particular noteworthy thing happening.  I pulled into my buddy Clay's house about 4:30pm.  It was good to be this close to home and with friends again.

On Wednesday, the ride from Asheville to home was fine.  It was finally a little cooler, with it being almost chilly when Clay and I left his house to get breakfast.  That was nice!  Breakfast done, I headed east, and he went back towards his home.

There were two highlights for this ride home.  One was stopping at Stameys BBQ in Greensboro for lunch.  I had hot dogs and blackberry cobbler.  Delicious on both counts!  Stameys is my favorite restaurant in NC!  The other highlight was seeing my house as I turned the last corner to home.  It was a welcome sight.  Not so hot today, so the 275 mile ride was pretty easy.

So, this finishes the daily (or so) post for this ride.  As is my custom, I'll write one more post to summarize the trip and to give impressions concerning the overall trip.

Home sweet home!