Posted by: Jessie | April 25, 2012

Dismal, Then Delightful Day at Disney

The next morning we went to Walt Disney World.  Carley wasn’t feeling very well that morning, and neither was I.  I was waiting to hear back from the mechanic.  He had promised to email me the diagnosis and some pictures to my smart phone.

We got our tickets, shopped in the gift shop, took pictures in front of the castle, and rode the train across the park.  Carley and I went on the race car ride, Carley let me drive.  Next we rode the Goofy run-away train, and then the Dumbo ride.

Around noon I went to find a less loud place to call St. Pete Powersports.  They said that it was the drive shaft and the final drive.  They said that they did not have the entire estimate together yet because they did not know about parts, but that if they had to order parts from Europe it would be at least two weeks before the parts would come in.  They were thinking it would be about $1200 to fix the bike.  I thanked them and asked them to email me the estimate and pictures when they had it together.  Then I called Eric and boo-hooed.  I thought I was going to have to rent a U-Haul to take the bike home in for a proper burial.  Eric said not to worry, that he had spent a good part of the morning locating parts.  I gave him the phone number for St. Pete Powersports and Eric coordinated with them.  By the end of the day they had a plan.   Eric located the parts and had them overnighted to St. Pete.  The bike should be ready to go by Saturday.  Whoo-Hoo!

Finally I could relax and enjoy the rest of the day at Disney.  Carley and Avery got to meet Tinkerbell and Terrance.  We rode some more rides, ate dinner, and watched the fireworks.

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Posted by: Jessie | April 24, 2012

The END of the WORLD!

On Tuesday Jeff was flying back to Chicago and Amy was flying back to Seattle.  Rob and Stefanie were taking the kids to see Winter the Dolphin, star of the movie “Dolphin Tale.”  I had the choice of going to the airport or going to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  I chose the aquarium.

The plan was that Stefanie, Rob, and the kids would go to Clearwater in the car and I would follow on the bike.  After touring the aquarium we would go on to Orlando, where we would stay for a few days.  Dad and Marilyn were going to drop Jeff and Amy off at the airport, then meet us in Orlando.  I had planned to leave Friday and ride to Deal’s Gap to meet Eric, while everyone else stayed one more day in Orlando.  Then Stefanie and family were going to fly back to Wisconsin on Saturday.  That was the plan.

I started out following Rob and Stefanie, but we got separated at the toll booths.  I texted Stefanie and told her to go on ahead, that I would meet them there.  I followed the GPS on my new phone and took the exit off the highway.  As I stopped at the red light at the end of the exit ramp I heard a “clunk.”  I knew that was a bad sign.  I thought that when I saw Eric on Friday I would tell him about it.  The light turned green, I shifted into gear and let the clutch out.  The bike made a horrible grinding noise.  “Bummer.”  I thought. “It must be the clutch.”  I turned the adjuster knob a few times and tried again.  Still the horrible grinding noise.  I turned the knob the other way.  Nope.  I pushed the bike to the side of the road and turned on the hazard lights.  I took off my helmet and set it on the ground.  I took a deep breath as I gathered my thoughts.  There must be a way to search for nearby bike shops on my new phone.  It is a smart phone, after all.   But first I have to figure out where I am.

I looked up, and there, right in front of me, was a truck with “Fire Rescue” written on the side of it.  It had stopped at the red light.  I knocked on the window, when he rolled it down I said “I’m not on fire, but I sure do need to be rescued!”  He pulled over and got on his computer and found a Triumph dealership a couple miles away.  I called them and told them I was stranded and asked them if they work on BMW’s.  They said they did, but they couldn’t come get me.  The gave me the number of a motorcycle towing company.  I thanked the Fire Rescue guy, and he went back to his CEU class.  I got Mr. Happy out of the glove box, and we sat down to wait for the tow truck.  “This is inconvenient.”  I said to myself.  “But it’s not the end of the world.  They’ll fix my clutch and I’ll be back on the road by Friday.”

While we were waiting I called Stefanie to tell her to see Winter without me.  I would meet her at the Condo.  I called my Dad, who was halfway to the airport with Jeff and Amy by then.  He said they could pick me up at the Triumph dealership on their way to Orlando.

The tow truck guy was really nice.  He rides a Harley.  He knew exactly how to tow a motorcycle safely.  He didn’t say it out loud, but it was pretty clear that he didn’t think my husband should have allowed me to ride to Florida by myself.  “Don’t worry.”  I told him, “This is inconvenient, but it’s not the end of the world.  I’ll be back on the road again soon.”

When we got to St. Pete Powersports the service guy and the mechanic listened to it.  The mechanic said “It sounds like the driveshaft.”  My heart sank.  I wanted to cry.  “IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD!”  I thought.  I don’t know much about drive shafts, but it was my understanding that drive shaft failures are catastrophic for bikes like mine .  It probably cost more than the bike is worth to fix it.  “No no no.”  I told myself.  “It can’t be.  They’ll take it apart and look at it and it will turn out to be something minor.  I hope.”

Everybody at St. Pete Powersports was really nice.  I looked at new bikes while I was waiting for my dad to get there.  I tried on a Triumph Tiger, but it was too tall.  They let me sit on a lowered one, but it was still too tall.  They had many pretty bikes, but none that I like as much as my K75RT.

When Dad got there we took everything off the bike and put it in the van and headed off to Orlando.  The timeshare condo was beautiful.  I sat on the patio and watched the sun set over the lake, but I just couldn’t enjoy it.  I missed my bike.

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Posted by: Jessie | April 23, 2012

Enjoying Venice, FL

Dad and Marilyn’s condo is lovely.  It’s two bedrooms, and it is right on a golf course.  There is a playground for the kids, and there is even a pool.  In case you are wondering how many people you can fit in a two-bedroom condo, the answer is nine.  Dad and Marilyn were in their bedroom, Amy and I slept in the twin guest beds, Stefanie and Rob slept on the couch/pull-out bed.  Jeff slept in the dining room on an air mattress, and Carley and Avery slept on an air mattress  in the guest room with Amy and me.  It was wall-to-wall people.  What a slumber party!

The next day we packed a picnic lunch and went to the beach in Sarasota.  Dad says it one of the finest beaches in the country.  It was unusually windy that day, there was even some surf.  By the time we left we all felt thoroughly sandblasted.

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Posted by: Jessie | April 22, 2012

500 Miles From Macon, GA to Venice, FL

I got up early the next morning.  The Weather Channel announced a high wind warning, and it was supposed to get even more windy as the day went on.  The large fairing on my bike catches the wind like a sail, which can make riding on windy days very challenging.  I wanted to get on the road early.

I filled my hydration pack with ice, packed up the bike, and got on the road.  I drove for an hour before I stopped for breakfast; a piece of fruit and some yogurt.  It was easy to slip back into a rhythm.

Georgia is a very pretty state.  I enjoyed driving through it, even though I was on I75 the whole time.  Traffic moves very quickly on 75 south of Kentucky.  The speed limit is 70, but most of the traffic goes faster than that.  This turned out to be a good thing.  As the wind picked up and my bike started to blow all over the road, the extra speed was just what I needed to keep the bike stabilized. 

Florida is very pretty too.  The weather was warm.  On this leg of the trip I really appreciated my hydration pack.  I refilled it several time at rest stop drinking fountains.  I put some Mio flavoring in the water so I didn’t notice if it tasted different than Cincinnati water.  The Florida Welcome Center gave out free orange juice, free maps, and free brochures on things to do in every part of Florida.  I did take a free map, which came in handy later in the trip.  The orange juice was tempting, but I passed it up because I was trying to avoid sugar.  I ate a piece of fruit out of my cooler instead.

Both Eric and my Dad were worried about me taking this trip by myself, so I tried out a couple of different tracking programs.  One is Google Latitude and the other is Glympse.  Google Latitude shows my location on the map to the people I “friend” through Google Latitude.  Glympse is a program that allows me to send a “glympse” to whomever I chose.  I can send it to their email or to their phone.  When they look at it they can see my location on a map.  What I didn’t realize is that it also tells my speed.  When I arrived at Dad’s condo one of the first things he said to me was “You made good time.  One time when I looked at your Glympse it said you were going 83 miles an hour.”  He was very disapproving.  I didn’t tell him I needed the speed to fight the wind.  I didn’t want to scare him.

By the time I got to Dad’s condo, I was hungry!  I had only been snacking all day and had not had any real meals.  He took us out to eat at a place on the beach called Sharky’s.  They had yummy mixed drinks.  You know, the kind you drink on vacation!  They had yummy seafood too.  The music was pretty good.  The service was not good, and the waitress made excuses and blamed others.  Oh well.  We had fun anyway.  How could I not have fun.  I was having dinner on the beach!

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Posted by: Jessie | April 21, 2012

500 Miles From Cincinnati, OH to Macon, GA.

I have been thinking about taking longer motorcycle trips.  I really would like to go out west, but I don’t want to have to wait until I retire to do it.  I can’t afford to take a month or three off work.  So the only answer I can think of is to train to do more miles in a day so that I can cover long distances in a shorter amount of time.  When Jim came out to meet us at Bonneville he rode 1000 miles in one day, but it still took him two or three days to get out there.  I’ve been able to go 200 or 3oo miles in a day, but I had not tried to go more than that.  My dad and stepmother invited the family to visit their condo in Florida, so I thought this was a good opportunity to see how far I can go in a day.

I did some research on long distance riding.  I also talked to some people in the BMW club.  This is what I learned:

Stay hydrated.  Hydration packs are highly recommended.  It is easy to become dehydrated without realizing it, especially riding on a hot day or a dry day.  The wind can wick away perspiration so quickly you don’t even know you are perspiring.  When people get dehydrated they get more fatigued, concentration becomes poor, they may experience muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness, feel light-headed, irritable, sleepy, muscle cramps, confusion, decreased blood pressure, etc.

Take breaks before you get tired.  A short break can prevent you from getting tired.  Once you get tired it takes longer to recover.

Wear earplugs.  Things that fatigue long distance riders are noise, vibration, and wind.  Earplugs can reduce the amount of extraneous noise.

Eat light, but eat often.  Eat a piece of fruit or nuts when you stop for breaks.  This will keep your energy up and avoid post-heavy-meal sleepiness.

Avoid caffeine and sugar.  These things may give you energy short-term, but once they wear off it’s hard to keep going.

Armed with this information I got ready to set off on a 500 mile trip to Macon, GA.  Eric travels a lot for work, so he picked a hotel for me and made reservations.  I packed the bike.  I even had a little cooler with snacks like yogurt, fruit, nuts, and energy pars.  I geared up.  I had been advised to wear padded bicycle shorts for long trips, since my stock low seat has very little padding.  I thought I would give that a try.  It was also a little chilly and raining when I left, so I dressed in layers and put on my rain liners.  I knew it would be getting warmer as I got further south.  I put on my hydration pack and hit the road.

I rode for an hour and stopped and had a snack.  I rode another hour and stopped for gas.  After another hour I took my third stop.  By this time I felt pretty silly with a hydration pack, since it was still cold and rainy.  I took it off and bungied it to the back of the bike.

After a while I slipped into a rhythm.  Riding 500 miles was not has hard as I thought it would be.  The padded bicycle shorts were nice for the first 300 miles, they added some padding that my seat was lacking.  By the last 100 miles they were terribly uncomfortable.  The day had gotten warmer, but it was still humid.  The gel padding in those shorts just don’t breathe.

I used the navigation function on my phone instead of a GPS.  It said I would get there is 8 1/2 hours.  I figured it would take me at least 10 1/2 hours, maybe longer.  Even with all my stops, I got there in about 9 1/2 hours.  The hotel Eric picked for me was the Hilton Garden Inn.  This was much nicer then I would have picked for myself!  I would have picked something where I could park the bike right outside my door.  I was glad I let Eric pick!  I checked in, changed clothes, and headed down to the restaurant/bar for dinner.  I had the bar, and the TV all to myself!  The bartender put on the Superbike race for me so I could watch it while eating my grilled salmon and pasta.  After dinner I put on my swimsuit and headed to the whirlpool.  The pool area was full of children, all yelling and having a good time.  I didn’t stay long.  My head was still buzzing from the ride.  I just sat in the hot tub long enough for the hot water and the jets to relax my sore muscles.  Then I went back to the room to watch the end of the second Superbike race.  After the race I went right to sleep.

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