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The Road Trip with Bad Mojo, or My Plutonium Butt Run

Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
Did you ever have a road trip that just went horribly horribly wrong?

I did an unofficial Iron Butt Run of 1140 miles in 24 hours, but it was more like a Plutonium Butt Run. With half-life and all.

Full write up when my ears stop ringing.........
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
Glad your back safe and sound. I am looking forward to the story.
I almost didn't make it back. Several times.
Looooong story.

It was the first bike trip where all I wanted to do was go home.

So I did. But I wouldn't have without the help of a good friend here.

I had several lessons.......
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
You're home already? :huh:
Um, yes. I won't provide all the details but you'll read most of them in my write up. Until late this morning, I had a bad mojo following me everywhere.

I just ate the first meal I've had since Monday morning. And a mug of warm milk.
I'm in heaven.

And reeeally tired.

Whee performed gallantly. He's my hero. So is Bill. I'm in his debt (more than literally).
 

Gilk51

2
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Messages
17,293
Location
Arlington, Texas
Sorry to hear that your trip went awry.
There is still time to make up for it - Junction crew is leaving tomorrow morning...

Yep, that Bill is a good guy... (you mean Biwwy, right?)
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
Sorry to hear that your trip went awry.
There is still time to make up for it - Junction crew is leaving tomorrow morning...

Yep, that Bill is a good guy... (you mean Biwwy, right?)
the one and the same. He bailed me out (figuratively) of a bind. I've had two lessons in what real and good friends are this trip. I'm honored to call Bill one of them.

I would jump at the chance to go on the Junction trip. But, truth be told, I am penniless at the moment. So I'll have to do it vicariously through the rest of you.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
13,843
Location
Arlington, TX
Elzi, I'm so glad to hear that you made it home safe and sound. TIME FOR 10 GALLONS OF ICE CREAM!!!! I hope those storms weren't too bad on the way back. We were thinking about ya.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
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Location
Exit. Stage West.
Elzi, I'm so glad to hear that you made it home safe and sound. TIME FOR 10 GALLONS OF ICE CREAM!!!! I hope those storms weren't too bad on the way back. We were thinking about ya.
Dude! I thought you were gone playing in the Hills!!!

I was just going to call you and leave a message that I made it back. And I rode back the entire way today. (without grinding anymore pegs and boots) And the stories I have about last night and this morning......... oh, I still can't believe all this happened.

Bill, I can't tell you how grateful I am. I wouldn't be home today if it weren't for you. :clap: :clap:

I rode through Memphis in the pouring rain, but that's about it. Brief showers elsewhere but they were warm. I hit Texas and I had to turn on my grip heaters!! what's with that?
 

Squeaky

2
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Messages
13,258
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Katy
Dang it!!!! That nickname started over on the Warrior forum and now it's following me here!!!!:miffed:
I used Biwwy in the TITLE of a thread and you didn't even budge!

Elzi - glad to hear that despite the bad mojo you made it back home with both you and Whee in one piece. Take a break - throw on some comfy PJs, kick your feet up with a mug of hot cocoa, and just stare at the ceiling for a while. It starts to be fun after the first few thoughts of "why am I looking at the ceiling?"
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
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Location
Exit. Stage West.
Hah! I'm still in my long johns and finished off my second cup of hot cocoa. :)

Whee did great; except my gas mileage sucked. 30% or more less than what I normally get. Which was not anticipated and is included in Lesson #3 learned on this trip: Plan for the worst.

now if my ears would just stop ringing..........
 
R

Red Brown

Hah! I'm still in my long johns and finished off my second cup of hot cocoa. :)

now if my ears would just stop ringing..........
Just my two cents, but your ears should NOT be ringing if you used good quality ear plugs (or custom ones) and have an effective wind protection set-up such as a windshield that does not buffett nor howl with various speeds.

Talking to others, you can get long-term ear damage (like rock guitar players can attest to), especially in an Iron Butt distance if precautions are not taken. It looks like you are riding a V-Strom. They are known for severe buffeting issues.

Have you tried the MadStad bracket? It is a brilliant, aftermarket invention that solves the infamous head-shaking wind issues on the DL650. I have also heard the MadStad WITH a Windstrom windshield makes the perfect riding duo.

Red
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
13,843
Location
Arlington, TX
Have you tried the MadStad bracket? It is a brilliant, aftermarket invention that solves the infamous head-shaking wind issues on the DL650.
I've also heard great things about the Madstad bracket. But for me at my height, the stock setup just seems to work. I know that's not the case for everyone, so I guess I just lucked out.

Oh yeah, and I always wear earplugs on longer rides as well. They make the ride much more enjoyable. I buy the 100 pack from Walmart for less than $10. They have a 33db reduction is sound levels and when they get nasty I just toss them away and get a new set.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
A Road Trip with Bad Mojo

I eagerly awaited this trip for a long time and for several reasons. But as it grew near time to go, a black cloud hung over it for even more reasons.

At one point, I felt like I was about to ride off a cliff. Despite all the nagging doubts waving their little mischievous hands “No, no no!!!”

But I had to take that chance and ride off the cliff. I had to know. Or I would wonder and never know. Now I know.

And the nagging doubts are jumping up and down waving their hands. “Told ya so, told ya so!!!”

Riding of a cliff and landing face first on the bottom; hurt, bruised and humiliated, one would hope valuable lessons are learned. They were.

Lessons learned, or reminded of:

1. Listen to the Nagging Doubt Demons. Don’t shove them down into a box or ignore them. They nag for a reason, maybe several. Call them instincts, subconscious reasoning, suspicions based on previous associations or patterns……..they can be anything but the obvious. Or perhaps they can be that too. The obvious that you want to ignore or forget.

2. I was reminded of the value of friends. It’s a value that no weight in gold can match. And a luxury I haven’t had in most of my adult years. I discovered one whom I thought was a very close friend, was not. And another who helped me above and beyond when I was in dire straits.

3. Always be prepared for the worst; that’s the Boy Scouts’ marching song. Especially in budgeting trips. Finances have been tight lately due to monthly contributions to the family, and I underestimated the budget for this trip. Of course, the worst happened. I ran out of money. And gas.

So what of the trip?

The bike was packed and ready to go Saturday night. After a good night’s sleep, I was on the road in the dark of an early Sunday morning. Traveling anywhere Sunday mornings offers an opportunity to enjoy the roads without the usual traffic congestion. And enjoy it I did.

Because I had a committed destination and time of arrival, I rode the interstates. Luckily the route was simple: I-30 to I-40. To avoid riding through downtown Dallas, I rode I-20 and then north on 635 east of Dallas to pick up I-30. The first leg of my journey took me through an area of Texas I haven’t experienced before: east Texas. Despite that nearly all of northern Texas is green right now I suspected it is green there most of the year.

Several miles east of Rockwall, a light mist fell. I turned on the heated grips to keep my hands warm but didn’t yet miss my electric vest that I opted to leave behind. The wind had picked up out of the southeast and except for the brief ride north on 635, the bike and I battled strong cross and head winds riding both east and west on this trip.

I admired the sweeping green pastures and picturesque horse and cattle ranches in eastern Texas and Arkansas. All the horses and cattle looked fat and happy; harvesting hay had already begun. The interstate between Texarkana and Little Rock was beautiful with trees bordering each direction and offering a buffer against the wind. I took advantage of that to sit upright on the bike rather than hunkered down on the tank bag to reduce the wind buffeting.

After Little Rock the wind protection by the trees was replaced by open agricultural land and we were slapped around again all the way into Tennessee. Riding the bypass around Memphis at 3 pm, I felt lucky it was not a weekday. Considerable construction before and after the Mississippi bridge suggested that traffic can be snarled on weekdays.

Starting to feel road weariness from battling the wind and hunger, I pulled off I-40 in Jackson, TN, to find a room for the night. Watching the signs from the highway I found a motel that advertised an affordable rate.

Texas is a big state and its natives, no matter what age or ethnicity, seem to be scattered all over this country. I’ve meet people on every road trip who have lived a portion of their lives in Texas and this trip was no exception. The motel clerk, a pleasant man of Asian Indian descent, grew up in Waco where his parents and brother own a motel. He moved to Tennessee where the weather suited him better. And stayed.

At my request, I was given a first floor room near the office and I parked the bike within a few feet of my motel room window. I started to think about finding some food after a welcome hot shower with strong water pressure massaged my knotted traps into relaxation. Looking outside the window I saw a Taco Bell within walking distance, cheap and easy to obtain.

After eating I prepared everything to quickly load the bike and depart by 7 am. At 9 pm I was falling asleep, and since I saw no point in battling it, I succumbed.

Except for the occasional and typical motel noise of other occupants, including a bout of maniacal laughter and shouting outside my door, I slept relatively well. I was up at 5:30 am and on the road with three cups of coffee in me and a full tank of gas by 7 am. I was already missing my own strong brew of java and wished there had been a Starbucks nearby to remedy that.

Shortly before Nashville, hunger drove me off the interstate and in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Perusing the menu I realized that this chain would be a logical place to target for eating on the road: they were ubiquitous all up and down the major highways and relatively inexpensive. Little did know that would be my last real meal until I returned home.

Before I returned to the highway I had to hunt for a post office to mail out a horse halter that I had sold online. The deal was finalized late Saturday night so I had no opportunity to mail it prior to leaving. I packaged the halter with its heavy silver in paper and plastic bags, carefully slipping it into one side bag and ready to mail out somewhere along the way. And hoping the sale money would be transferred to my account quickly. I had to rely on it for the trip home.

Nearly all my life I have been plagued with bad voodoo in post offices. Everywhere I’ve lived across this country whenever I enter a post office, the world seems to slow to about 1/16 of normal time and Murphy’s Law is the Law of the US Postal Universe. The postal clerks appear as turtles and Eyore caricatures moving at snail’s pace and oblivious to the outside world. This time was no exception.

After my third visit to the desk, still in full riding gear and now profusely sweating, my patience cork about to pop, I exited the big glass door from the Universe of No Clue and with relief started the bike, eager to get back on the highway and out of this small Tennessee town.

Back on the interstate, I luckily hit the tail end of morning traffic in Nashville on a gray and cloudy Monday morning riding east. I was on the last leg of my journey east and looking forward to a reprieve from the asphalt.

Finding the exit to the park, I rode 36 miles north of I-40 into the hills of Tennessee. The roads gained elevation and became increasingly rolling and curvy, providing a welcomed change from the many-lane interstate asphalt. The park signs clearly guided my way to the park and I checked in at headquarters to pick up keys for the cabin.

Most of the cabins are clustered in two areas separated by highway 136 that winds through the park and then up and down the foothills of the mountains. All sit in close proximity to headquarters and a small rustic conference center. The cabin I rented was the exception. The entry was a private drive that wound down the hill and through the trees where the cabin sat on a ledge overlooking the reservoir. It was perfect: serene, quiet and private. It was ideal.

cabin1-1.jpg


Constructed of timbers and on stone foundation piers, the entry porch offered a view of the reservoir below and was floored in the plentiful nearby fieldstone. A wooden porch on the other side overlooked the hills, a ravine and trees. The main cabin room contained a double bed, round table with ladder-back chairs and a large stone fireplace. A small kitchen provided the essentials and the adjoining small room housed two single beds and a dresser.

cabin2.jpg


cabin_view1.jpg


The rest of Monday will remain private, but will also be long remembered. It was then that the bad mojo began to rain on my parade. I rode off the cliff, face first and crashed at the bottom, bruised and humiliated. And all my Nagging Doubt Demons began their little “Told you so!!” dance.

Later that night I ate my last protein bar, lit the logs in the fireplace and unsuccessfully tried to read my book. I read the same paragraphs without really digesting them; my head wasn’t in it. Feeling drained I tried to sleep. Also without success.

I woke disoriented and drenched in sweat from a nightmare, got out of bed in the light of the fire and sat in the dark drinking a bottle of water. My traps and neck had seized up and I wandered out to the bike, retrieving the Advil to relieve the pounding headache. No stars or moon could be seen in the sky. Ever since I rode into Tennessee, grayness seemed to dominate both night and day.

I walked back to the cabin accompanied by the hooting of two nearby owls and tried to go back to sleep.

A searing pain woke me from a restless sleep; a tonic muscle cramp in my left gastrocs (calf muscles). Although I haven’t had one of those in a long time, I knew the course of it. By the time I climbed out of subconsciousness, it was too late to mitigate its progression. I could feel the two muscles seize and ball up pulling on the connective tissue; it felt like the tendons were going to pull away from the bones they were connected to. The pain is excruciating.

Oddly enough, when this occurs the rest of the body tightens in response, which merely exacerbates everything. The only way to mitigate it is to deliberately focus on relaxing the entire body and slowly stretch the calf muscles hoping to minimize or even prevent the progress of the muscle tetany. But this time it was too quick and I was too slow in coming out of sleep. All I could do is stifle a scream and wait for it to subside, or resort to beating on the muscles with my fist to try and interrupt the prolonged and unchecked neural activation and contraction of the muscles.

Feeling it finally subside, I lay there forcing myself to breathe and relax, letting it fully release. Then slowly try and stretch out the calf muscles to reduce the ensuing stiffness. I knew it was going to be sore the next day.

I lay there for hours unable to fall back to sleep. My calf throbbed and I couldn’t turn my head off. I recall hearing birds announce the beginning of sunrise when I finally drifted back into a restless slumber.

inside_cabin1.jpg
 
Joined
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Exit. Stage West.
Bad Mojo Visits Again

Grudgingly I climbed out of unconsciousness, again disoriented and wondering where the **** I was. Something in my head dumped memories of the past two days into my waking consciousness and my left leg felt like it had been run over by a Mac truck and returned to the rest of my body.

“What am I doing here?” I asked myself aloud.

Carefully swinging out of bed and pulling on some clothes, I opened the door to see another gray sky and cast on the shapes and colors surrounding me.

‘Does the sun ever shine here?’ I wondered.

Sipping a bottle of water, I limped out to the bike as it sat there quiet and patient like a faithful steed, dry bags still strapped on its back. Contemplating what to do for the rest of the day, I pulled out my collected receipts from the trip thus far to determine my financial status.

Sitting at the table and adding up expenses, a foreboding realization caught me that I was in trouble. I had realized on the way there my gas mileage was poorer than normal, but now the reality hit me: I significantly underestimated the budget for this trip. I didn’t have enough money to make it home.

Bill was going to be riding in the Dragon area of North Carolina, about 300 miles from where I was staying. We had talked about meeting up there for a ride or for brunch on his way back home on Wednesday. Since neither was an option for me now, I called to leave a message on his phone letting him know.

I limped outside with my cell phone to see if I could find a signal. After connecting with a local network and roaming, I was surprised to discover Bill was home due to a change in his plans. I related my unforeseen circumstances and he offered something that only a good friend would: wire me money to get home. He also researched online for places I could camp overnight on the trip home. And looked into finding where I could pick up a wire transfer via Western Union.

Meanwhile, I decided to stay the day there at the cabin and get some rest for the ride home the next day. Common sense, which I was paying close attention to now, suggested I was in no condition to embark on another long road trip. I was groggy from lack of sleep and food and my left calf was a hindrance in even casual walking. Regardless, my background in physiology overcame my reluctance move; the stretching and movement of using the muscle would help reduce the lactic acid accumulation inside the tissue and slowly reduce the stiffness.

So walk I did. Slowly. I meandered to the park headquarters and informed the park staff that due to unforeseen circumstances I would not be staying the full term I had reserved the cabin for; I would leave the next morning. Then I took the camera in hand and found a trail to shuffle along on.

The grayness left a pallor over everything in sight, imparting a silence and stillness despite the breeze that left ripples on the lake below. The trees and terrain threw me back in time to my years of solitary hikes in Maine and Oregon. It’s an odd feeling as if being suspended between two worlds or in two different time frames.

Despite being away from a similar environment for a decade or more, I recognized old friends and memories surfaced of when I was more intimate with everything around me. I knew their names with their associated smells, colors and textures; their annual cycles of birth and death, and I remembered my life, as it was when I lived amongst them. I was flung back in time to remember half of my life elsewhere. And for a few hours, the present faded away.

lake1.jpg
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2005
Messages
352
Location
Coppell, Texas
Ouch! Your story of the muscle cramp brings back recent memories of similar problems I have had. A few months ago, I had a hamstring seize up in the middle of the night. That leg was sore for a week.
Sounds like you had some problems on this trip;......glad you made it back to tell the tale.

Don
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
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Exit. Stage West.
Road Warrior Meets Bad Mojo

The shuffle hike instilled some spirit back into me and I returned to the cabin with a renewed sense of purpose. And with a growling stomach.

To conserve on gas, I had decided to stay put until leaving the next morning. Remembering I had packed a zip bag of pancake mix, I added water and cooked a stack of pancakes to eat now and to carry in the tank bag for nibbling during the ride the next day.

Before leaving home, I threw in an envelope of dehydrated meal: Chicken with Jamaican BBQ Sauce. I picked it up last fall more from curiosity than need: ‘Jamaican BBQ’?? I pulled that out, added two cups of boiling water and let it sit for fifteen minutes (the instructions suggested 10-12 minutes) while I sat at the table and planned a ride of attack towards home.

After mapping out a route, estimating fuel consumption and cost, and arranging maps inside my tank bag map holder, I dished out half of the strange brew while nearly salivating in the bowl.

A warning should be added to the package: Eat under duress.

I ate the camouflaged Styrofoam shreds trying to suppress a grimace; I was too hungry to care. My ‘meal’ was chased down with a pancake and a bottle of water while I prepared to pack and load the bike once again.

Everything loaded, traveling clothes laid out to don the next morning, I planned to wake by 6 am and get on the road by 7. Since there were no phones or even clocks in the cabins, I would have to rely on my own internal clock to wake me. Regardless, I laid my watch on the table beside the bed. After talking with Bill on the phone again and trading information and plans, I found myself groggy with sleep and laid down for a nap on the bed about 4 pm.

The next thing I knew I was fully awake, sensing that I had overslept and glanced at my watch: 6:30. Oh crap…….. I overslept till the next morning, but not too badly.

Jumping out of bed and pulling clothes on, brushing teeth and gathering odds and ends, I felt the Road Warrior surface: I was eager and ready to roll.

I immediately took stock of the weather outside: still gray and somewhat dark, but enough light to get things together and rolling. After a last look around the cabin, I closed and locked the door, warmed up Whee and rode up the steep driveway to the cabin and on to the park headquarters to drop my keys into the office box.

Everything was still quiet and all I heard was the comforting whine and purr of my bike as we rode out onto the park road. Retracing my way to the park and turning the opposite direction, I enjoyed the lack of traffic on the country roads and through the small towns. The Road Warrior inside smiled a little and it felt good to be back on the road.

Heading south towards I-40, I kept an eye out for the entrance to the highway. I discovered quickly in the countryside out there that warning and directional signs are sometimes non-existent or hidden behind trees and shrubs.

Knowing I was getting close, I reduced my speed but still nearly missed the entrance to I-40 south. I nearly passed it. At the last moment, I made a judgment call and made a hard lean right to enter the circular on-ramp. Then I realized I had to lean more or I was going to go off the road and crash.

Lean I did, rolling on the throttle to increase centrifugal force but maintaining the turn. The last thing I wanted was to let go of the throttle and lose speed: I would drop sideways. Suddenly I felt and heard my right peg and boot gouging the tarmac under me. I’ve scraped pegs before but this was more than a scrape; it was gouging. And I felt the edge of my boot scraping the tarmac with it.

Suddenly sweating and my eyes big, I kept that throttle grip steady and waited until I saw I could safely upright the bike in a straight line. As I approached the main arterial my heart was pounding: “Holy Crap!!”

As I rode I noticed the sky was getting increasingly dark; I moaned to myself: more showers rolling in. I rode about 30 miles or so and pulled off an exit to get gas. After filling my tank and now feeling fully awake, I noticed the lack of light.

Wait.

What time is it?

I looked at the clock on the bike and saw that it was 8:00. It was then I realized that is was 8:00 pm…….not am.

Feeling quite stupid, I realized I was more disoriented that I thought. I had woken at 6:30 pm, thinking it was in the morning. And left.

There was no turning back now; I had no choice but to continue on. So I rode on for several miles and realized I needed some coffee in me. I was not going to make it through riding a night on the road without caffeine in me.

There was a Flying J up ahead at the next exit. I pulled into the station, backed the bike into a spot in front of the store and contemplated what to do next. I walked in and asked if there was a Western Union there. No, but there was one at the Pilot the next exit down. I must have looked desperate: they gave me a tall coffee with two refills.

I sat on the sidewalk behind Whee, sipping on coffee and turned on my cell phone. There was a message from Bill: “Call me when you get this.”

I called and told him that the Pilot stations had Western Union, which he had already discovered during an Internet search. Over the next half hour we set up a money transfer at the Pilot station in Dickson, TN.

He wondered what I was doing on the road at that time of night and I confessed my earlier brain fart. I had to laugh along with him at that, but I knew I could not ride the whole night through. He suggested a few places along the way to pull off and camp. It was then that I confessed that for the first time ever on a road trip, all I wanted to do was go home. Like Dorothy, all I wanted to do was click my riding boot heels and go home. This trip had lost all its heart.

By the time I was on the road again heading to the Pilot station, some calm had returned to me. But there was still a sense of foreboding. And with good reason.

Barely five miles back on the highway, a deer jumped onto the tarmac in front of me. With quick reflexes, I applied both rear and front brakes gently but firmly to avoid locking the wheels at 70 mph, and readied myself for a crash into furry warm body.

In spaces between split seconds, I watched as the deer’s eyes got big and its hooves scattered on the mist-covered tarmac. I saw the white flag of its rear end just at the corner of my left vision as it miraculously skid past in front of me and to the other side of the highway.

Thankfully there was no other vehicle close behind me, but I heard and saw in my mirror the car behind me apply the brakes and veer into the lane on my left to avoid hitting me.

That was a close call. I knew then I needed to get off the highway. My nerves were shot.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
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Exit. Stage West.
Riding Under a Bad Sign

I pulled into the Pilot station and approached the counter asking about Western Union.

“Well, yes, we have it here, but the machine ain’t working.”


It was as if a dark cloud just opened up and dumped all that bad mojo on me. And it continued to rain.

“No, please don’t tell me that…..”

“Sorry, honey. There’s a Western Union down the street at Seavy’s, but they’re closed. I think there’s one at Walmart, too. Let me call for you.”

She called Walmart and customer service closed at 10 pm.

“Honey, you’re in Dickson. Life ceases here at 9 pm.”

That was it. I felt like I was going to break. All I could do was mutter, “I just want to go home……”

I didn’t have enough gas or money to make it home and Bill had wired the money here. So I had no recourse but to stay until one of the stores with a Western Union opened at 7 am. It was 10:30 pm.

It was going to be a very, very long night.

“Honey, I have a Suburban outside. Why don’t you park your bike next to that and crawl into the back and try to get some sleep. Are you hungry?”

I had no appetite. I just knew I was stranded. Here. In Small Town, Tennessee.

I graciously accepted her offer to catch some sleep in her Suburban, parked the bike next to it, transferred valuables into the back seat with me, and curled up to try and sleep. Which was near impossible with all the noise and lights. I dozed off and on in between voices, slamming doors, and rain pattering on the roof. I jumped out of the vehicle to retrieve the tank bag, helmet, and pulled off the sheepskin pad. I used that as a pillow.

I barely remember waking and sauntering into the store in stocking feet to find the bathroom. I couldn’t open my eyes in the glaring light and must have looked a sight with my over pants halfway unzipped and a squinting sleepy face. I felt like a little kid in a strange house.

I was woken at 5 am since the woman left her shift at 6 am. She gave me a big cup of coffee and told me I could hang out there anywhere until 7 am and the store with the Western Union opened. I thanked her profusely. Several times.

So I spent the next two hours looking and feeling lost, but glad it was morning.

Shortly before 7 am, I rode in the direction I was pointed, looking for the store. I couldn’t find it. Remembering the directions for Walmart, I rode further down and pulled into their parking lot.

Walking inside, I was told that their money center didn’t have Western Union. But that the local K-mart and Kroger did. Getting directions, I rode several miles to the K-mart and saw on the door that it didn’t open until 8 am.

Frustration was beginning to eat at me again, so I asked a person in the parking lot for directions to the Kroger. Pulling into the parking lot, I saw the comforting sign of Western Union on the wall by the door. I walked into the Kroger and asked where it was and was directed to the customer service counter. And told it didn’t open until 8 am. I had another 50 minutes.

By now, I wore exasperation all over me. I sauntered over to the counter, leaned my head against the wall and closed my eyes to rest. A woman behind the counter was equipping all the registers with money drawers and after half an hour asked me what I needed.

I told her a money transfer wired to me at the Pilot station near the highway, but their machine was down. And that I spent the night there waiting for another place with a Western Union to open.

She was kind enough to process the transfer at 7:45 and I now had enough cash to make it home. With a huge sense of relief, I started the bike, filled it with gas and I was on my way.

Home.

By that time, my only thought and intent was to ride the highway home. This trip had lost heart a long time ago. It lacked the usual motivation and enjoyment that I always have when I’m on the road and on a journey. But this time, I wasn’t even sure this one was worth the rubber off my tires.

I rode and stopped only to fill the tank with gas. Just east of Memphis the sky opened up and I rode through the city in a deluge. Luckily it was past rush hour and traffic wasn’t too bad, but I kept a safe speed and distance aware of the slick road conditions and reduced visibility. Although I avoided getting too wet, the temperature was warm enough that the dampness didn’t bother me.

Just east of Little Rock, Arkansas, the Road Warrior surfaced and I decided I was not stopping. I was going to ride straight through.

To home.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
13,843
Location
Arlington, TX
WOW!!!, you have to look at it this way, this will be a motorcycle trip to remember for the rest of a lifetime. And although it seems bad right away, this is exactly the thing that you will look back on in a year or two and giggle. I know this because I've had a couple trips where all I wanted to do was get home.

I can't say it enough, I'm glad you made it home safe and sound. That is really all that matters!!!!:mrgreen:
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
My Plutonium Butt Ride

On the road and deciding I was riding the rest of the way home, stopping only to fuel up, it occurred to me that this was going to be an unofficial Iron Butt Ride.

Iron…….. why iron? Such a ubiquitous metal that sits like a stone. Most stones have iron in them. This was not a common ride, nor do I ride like an iron stone.

Now, plutonium is a radioactive metallic chemical with a half-life of 24 thousand to 80 million years. That seemed more appropriate: this run was decided upon less than halfway home and this trip was going to be remembered for 80 million years. Or until I’m gone, whichever comes first.

Plutonium is often referred to as the ‘most complex metal’. Since this was a trip full of complications and complexities, it seem even more appropriate.

So, while moving around on my bike’s seat trying to get comfortable (more my left leg and ankle than anything else), I laughingly decided to dub this return trip home: my Plutonium Butt Ride.

Except for a brief stop at an Iron Skillet to inhale a terrible BLT sandwich (I hate white bread and the lettuce was soggier than the bacon was greasy), I fueled only Whee’s gas tank and pointed Whee for home.

Now riding a bit more aggressively with an average speed of 70-75 mph, we sailed home feeling more confident and spirited. Riding through Rockwall at the tail end of rush hour, I was grinning and we hit Dallas at 6:00 pm. I pulled into my gravel drive with 1140.1 miles at 7:45 pm.

Although I left the cabin the night before (or was it that morning?........ ;) shortly after 7 pm, I allowed myself some slack for stopping to chat with Bill on the phone, catching some needed Z’s in a Suburban parked at a truck stop, and searching for the elusive Western Union in Dickson, Tennessee.

Pulling up on the gravel at home, I turned off Whee’s engine and sat on the bike for a moment. Actually, I wasn’t sure if I could get off. My left calf was sore, my bad left ankle now throbbing, and my hip flexors seized up. I slowly and carefully eased myself off the bike, pulled the liners out of my side bags and let myself in the house. I left the rest of the bike loaded.

It was good to be home.
 
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I can't say it enough, I'm glad you made it home safe and sound. That is really all that matters!!!!:mrgreen:
Yes, you're right. And I owe a lot to you. For the loan and the encouragement to go on. Thanks for being a friend.

I had some hard lessons on this trip, but that's what life is, right? ;-)
(eating humble pie.....)

And now I know what my endurance level is on the road, as well as what I need to make it more comfortable (highway pegs, something for the throttle, and ear plugs). I'd like to give the Madstat a try, too.

Saying all that, tomorrow I need to get back on the horse and go for a day ride to restore heart: inside me, in my bike and in the road.
When you fall of a horse, you get back on and try it again. Well, not to Tennessee, though....... :mrgreen:

Hey, you two have a good and safe ride this weekend. I'll contact you after your return to reimburse you.

Ride on! :rider:
 
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Awesome writeup, and an adventure to remember for ever... even if you don't want to. It's good to have GREAT friends :clap:
 
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Awesome writeup, and an adventure to remember for ever... even if you don't want to. It's good to have GREAT friends :clap:
Yes, it is. Indeedy.

Oh, I'll remember this trip. I'd even like to return to that area to ride it, there were some great roads, and the cabin was really wonderful.

maybe later in another lifetime...... :trust:
 
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Just my two cents, but your ears should NOT be ringing if you used good quality ear plugs (or custom ones) and have an effective wind protection set-up such as a windshield that does not buffett nor howl with various speeds.
yes, I need to find earplugs that fit. Most of them pop out and hurt my ears. I left home without any.

The Madstat is on my list. Reducing the helmet buffeting would be....... so nice.
My windshield doesn't howl; my helmet does.
 

Janet

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Wow, sounds rough. A few years from now you will be telling the tale like a war story around a table of fellow bikers. "I remember when I rode to Tennessee....."
I am off on Friday. Holler if you want to get out on the bike and meet up.
Glad your back in one piece.
Janet
 

kurt

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Like they say..."It's not and adventure until something goes wrong". On the bright side, you have a crystal clear understanding about who you can trust. I learned that one the hard way long ago.
 
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On the bright side, you have a crystal clear understanding about who you can trust. I learned that one the hard way long ago.
I learned it both ways on this trip: whom I can't and can trust.

BTW, I have to be in Austin (Leander) some weekend early next month, albeit in the truck. Was wondering if you might have time for lunch (or some classification of eating at any time of the
day :) ).
 

kurt

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I learned it both ways on this trip: whom I can't and can trust.

BTW, I have to be in Austin (Leander) some weekend early next month, albeit in the truck. Was wondering if you might have time for lunch (or some classification of eating at any time of the
day :) ).
Let me know when!
 
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Nice report, even if the trip was less the wonderful.
Glad your back in one piece :clap:

you coulda called this your Long Way Home ride ;)
 
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I am off on Friday. Holler if you want to get out on the bike and meet up.
I need to change my oil and filter. I have everything but one quart of oil.
But I also have had this vision of ice cream dancing around in my head for DAYS!!!!

So I'm getting ready to ride into town (Richland Hills) to get a quart of oil and search for an ice cream.
Let me know if you want to meet up somewhere.
 

M38A1

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I too am glad you are home safe, and thank-you for sharing your story.

FWIW, I've had great success with the Howard-Leight orange foam 'bullet' type earplugs. I now buy them by the large box/case, use them a few times and replace. The wind noise can be a problem even on short trips.
 

Janet

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Hope you got your ice cream fix. I got called out this morning at 9 so had to go in to work a scene and I just got back home. Maybe next time. I am going to head to the pie run tomorrow if your interested.

Janet
 
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Hope you got your ice cream fix. I got called out this morning at 9. Just got back home. Maybe next time. I am going to head to the pie run tomorrow if your interested.
there's a pie run tomorrow???......

I just unfinished unpacking :mrgreen:
Was getting ready to leave (washing the grease off my hands) when I thought I'd check email and saw this.
 
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I too am glad you are home safe, and thank-you for sharing your story.

FWIW, I've had great success with the Howard-Leight orange foam 'bullet' type earplugs. I now buy them by the large box/case, use them a few times and replace. The wind noise can be a problem even on short trips.
+1 I buy them from Alamo Iron Works.
 
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It's trips like that that tell you who your friends are, and teach you what gear and such are good and what ya really need to have.

I used to use Hearos brand plugs, best I've tried if you can find em. Then I got some of those custom molded ones poured in my ears and haven't bought another earplug since.
 

M38A1

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The ones I buy are Howard Leight MAX 33db, uncorded, orange.

PM me with your addy and I'll drop a few pairs for you to try.
Thanks!
I picked up a cheapo pair of green ones today and they were frustrating: falling out of my ears, getting wedged in between helmet lining and ear......
Oiy.
 
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I'm glad you made it back safely. Thank you for sharing the story of your adventure with us. You've done a wonderful job of storytelling, I feel as if I were there with you. As I found during my military service, the hard times make for the best stories later and that friends, loyal and true, are priceless.
 
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