Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Recent Trip

Well did a 'flying' trip to Chicago last week and can state that the handlebar risers are a resounding success. Total trip distance was 1,660 miles and, apart from the usual minority of 'settee' road hogs who don't understand the weapon they sit in, was without incident.

The ride up there through SC, NC, TN, KY, IN and IL took a little over 11 hours in near perfect weather. The only exception was that when I got just past Indianapolis night arrived and so did a drop in temperature of about 20 degrees. Jeez was I cold when I got to the hotel but relatively 'ache' free - ok after 810 miles and stopping only briefly 4 times for gas with the exception of the last stop where I took my helmet off for the first time (700 miles) and ate a quick 6" Italian Subway.

The return journey back was somewhat of a little different story. Leaving downtown Chicago at 09:30 am CST the rain started, and did it continue. The trusty one piece Aerostich succumbed but so would a divers 'dry' suit. Yes 'Papps luck' revealed itself. I knew the trip up was too good. Rain, torrential in places, with thunderstorms was the theme of the first half of the trip. I did not see any dry weather until I got about 50 miles south of Lexington, KY - 475 miles and nearly 6 hours of unrelenting rain - was I unhappy? I have to admit that while riding between Indy and Louisville I really considered aborting BUT if I did I knew that the next days forecast was just the same and that my gear would still be soaking wet so what the hell!

As I rode down I75 towards TN, sign stating "Knoxville 140 miles" and clear skies on the horizon, at last I began to smile and congratulate myself for making the correct decision. There is nothing like self gratification by the way!!

The bike performed flawlessly and, most importantly, those tires never gave ANY indication of loss of grip - 10 out of 10 Bridgestone. As an aside when I started riding bikes in the late '70's and well into the 80's Bridgestone tires were an absolute joke. Anyone that bought a bike with them fitted as OE kit immediately swapped them for TT100's or Phantoms otherwise you may as well have prearranged your funeral after the next rain shower because there was no way you were going to stay on once you hit that first bend when it was wet at anything more than walking pace!

As I rode towards TN those 'big' signs stated tune to "1234 AM for important I40 closure information". I thought bloody hell, not again, yes this has happened to me before, remember "Papps luck", I40 is closed due to something or other and I am going to have to ride 25W or other forsaken back road and add 2 to 3 hours to my already miserable journey. I have no radio so 'tuning in' was going to do nothing for me so I started to consider alternative routes. What the hell, straight to Knoxville I rode, still the signs stated the same and guess what, I40 was open, it was just a width restriction for large loads, was I one happy bunny.

So I got home at around 9:00 pm EST and 'peeled' all my soaking clothes off that I had beneath my Aerostich - the "Stich" had dried by then but the clothes beneath obviously did not. A Guinness was poured and once again I reflected on my sterling decision to carry on when I was in Indiana - what a warm feeling instilled within me or was it just the Guinness, who knows, the never ending joys of motorcycling - roll on the real trip in 3 weeks Utah here we come.

In closing just had the 7,500 mile service done and a new back tire has been ordered to be fitted right ahead of the UT trip - no problems and she's good to go - well done again Performance Motorcycles of Greenwood SC.

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