Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Things are changing

Well it appears the little Ninjas are going to find a new home.  Casey has already purchased a new bike and I'll let him post about that.  I've listed mine on Craigslist but I'm in no hurry to sell it.  

We are thinking of doing more long distance trips and the bigger bikes will allow us to cover more ground a little more comfortably.  

This is what I'll be giving up in terms of fuel mileage.  The 1st bar is with the 14 tooth sprocket, the middle portion is mostly around town and constant speeds under 50 mph.  Of the last 3 the middle one is mixed city/highway and the other two have more highway (65+mph)

Friday, August 8, 2008

The trip in review.

It was every bit an epic experience as I had expected it would be. We travelled through nearly 12 straight hours of rain on the return trip, we were hit by endless hundreds of bugs, Ray found himself remixing songs in his head to occupy the time of relative quiet inside his helmet, and I had a bat hit me in the face hard enough to bust my lip.

You start to tune out the drone of the bike after a while and then you are left with nothing but your thoughts and the whistle of the wind. It's hard not to wax philosophical about a trip of this length because after Hour 10 or so you transcend the mundanity of riding and start to stare off into the distance and ponder the countryside, the bike, the scenery, and the imminent demise of small town America. The trip becomes defined by a oneness with the road that you simply do not experience in a vehicle with doors and fenders. You identify with the country you are travelling through in a way that you cannot on the interstate highway system. The endless miles of cornfields tell you something about the way of life of the crop producers of America. The wind farms of Northern Indiana have a certain graceful beauty that gives you hope for the future at the same time as their bladed components intimidate with their sheer size. And the small town courthouse squares make you appreciate a style of living that we seldom experience anymore.

Was it hard to ride for that long? Yes. Was it tiring? Yes. Would we do it again? We sure would. We're already trying to decide where to go next.

We faced the open road, we stared down traffic, we survived Gary, Indiana, and we were still alert enough after the return ride to get in some moving immediately after we got home. Yes, we actually started moving my belongings to my new house before we even got to sleep.

Nobody ever said we were sane.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The fuel milege graph

First bar was before the 15 tooth front sprocket was installed and a lot of interstate riding at 70mph. Second bar is the first leg of our trip and the 15 tooth sprocket installed. Easy riding and probably a max of 55 mph. Third is where we hit some 60mph speed limits and a little rain. I need to find a rain jacket without a hood on it that acts like a parachute while riding. The last 3 are pretty much mixed drivng. 70 mpg average isn't all that bad considering the bike is legal for interstate use.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So what happened to that steak, anyway?

No worries. There has been much red meat consumed on this trip, but we didn't end up eating any of it at our intended location, Ray Radigan's. We have gathered a lot of intel from the locals here, and they say it was a great steak place -- 30 years ago. Apparently it was a club at one point that had meat of myth and legend, but now it's own by Ray's son and the quality of the food is nothing to go to Kenosha for. The general consensus is that if you're in the area, it's good enough food to merit a visit. If not, don't go there.

So we haven't.

But we have been eating meat from Poeta's, the little neighborhood Italian grocery store/butcher shop just down from Ray's parents in Highwood. Right now there is some fresh sausage cooking on the grill outside. I cut it from a 3 pound rope of sausage. Not appealing to look at, but desirable for its freshness. And Monday we had some thick T-bones that I personally grilled up in the back yard. Tasty, tasty.

Dinner time awaits. Tomorrow the open road calls again. We're eyeing Accuweather carefully, but we're ready.

Collage of souvenirs

Program? Check. Metra ticket from Union Station to Highwood? Check. Skydeck ticket? Check. Northwest Metra line map? Check.

The trappings of motorcycle travellers without their motorcyles.

And at the top.

The Sears Tower's Skydeck. It's really high. Remember, this was the world's tallest building (decorative spires notwithstanding) until 2001. It's damn tall. Remember Ferris Bueller's Day Off? Yep, this is one of the places they visit during the music montage.

At the bottom...

The Bean

While the early morning Chicago commuters were busy racing to work, Ray and I strolled through Millennium Park and posed briefly in front of The Bean as the sun came up over Lake Michigan.

Looking down on everyone

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Chicago from 21st floor

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