Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Casey's bike search ended.

Since we decided to take this trip Casey kept on giving me hell about
riding the little 250. I told him about all the riders that
participate in the Iron Butt Rally where 11,000 miles are covered in
11 days. If you can't tell from the picture that's Casey on his newly
purchased Kawasaki Ninja 250. Yes he too will be riding a little 250
on this trip.

The adventure begins.

There are those times in life when you sit down and say to yourself, what exactly was I thinking? This might be one of those times. I'm not quite sure why Ray and I decided to ride our motorcycles on a 1300-mile round trip to have a steak, but it seemed like a good idea in its initial stages, and it's too late to turn back now.

I think it all started in January when Ray and I were discussing our plans to burn off a little vacation time this year. Both of our employers limit the amount of paid time off that we can carry from year to year, so not taking the time is kind of out of the question. Ray mentioned that he wanted to head to Chicago to meet his parents and suggested that I come along. That sounded like a good way to spend about a week, so I agreed. We pondered various modes of transportation for a while. Plane, car, Greyhound, even connecting passenger trains from Atlanta to Chicago via Washington, D.C. Then Ray suggested that we take our motorcycles...

My brain froze. I don't know if it was a momentary seizure from the shock of the sheer stupidity of it all, or if it was merely a pause to recall the feelings of freedom and oneness with the road that I used to feel during those college road trips. Somehow I agreed. That set the ball rolling. We had a concept of dubious sensibilities. Now we just needed a real plan and a route, and I needed a replacement for my ageing '88 Kawasaki Vulcan 750 that, while capable of making the trip, might have not been the best choice with its limited fuel range and weak charging system.

The plan was easy. One of our well-traveled friends told us over a bowl of Guinness chili about a steak house in Kenosha, Wisconsin named Ray Radigan's that is supposed to be second to none. That was good...A long trip to see another guy's family was okay enough, but an epic road trip in search of red meat of rare quality gave this hare-brained concept some, well, meat. It wasn't too much of a detour from our original path. That also helped with our route choice. Google Local says it's 650 miles, or 16 1/2 hours, from where I live to Kenosha, and that's a lot of riding if you stay on the interstates and try to just roll back the miles. We decided back roads, blue highways, and small-town America would be the only way. 55 mph. That's 7000 RPM's on Ray's little Ninja. That's 11,340,000 revolutions Ray's engine will make during the round trip. Let's hope it holds up.

Now all I needed was a new bike for myself.