Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring Ride Along Turnagain Arm

Today was so pretty I went over to the MSF parking lot and spent a few minutes practicing tight turns and swerving and emergency stops; pretty much all the drills. I only spent maybe 15 or 20 minutes there at the most, but it helped shake out the cobwebs. Then I headed out of town on the Seward Highway. I was going to stop about two miles out of town at Potter's Marsh, but everything is still frozen so I kept going. My first stop was about 10 miles out of Anchorage.

Farkle was enjoying the day almost as much as me!

I stopped again a few miles further out of town. An older woman, in her late 60's or early 70's came over to admire my bike. She said that 40 some years ago she had a Honda she rode to work on. She got a little misty eyed talking about how much fun she had as a young woman in Fairbanks and how if only she were younger she would get a bike again. We spent about 45 minutes talking. She was curious about every detail of the bike and it was a lot of fun showing her how far technology has come in the past 40 years. She especially liked my heated jacket.

As we were talking another woman and her daughter drove up in a pickup truck. The girl went to throw rocks at the Inlet while the mom stayed and joined in our conversation. She and her husband ride two-up on a Goldwing, but he's military deployed so she hasn't been riding in a while. I told her she should learn to ride the Goldwing herself and take her daughter. She kind of laughed and got a funny look on her face. "you think I could?" Before I could answer the old lady told her of course she could learn to ride. We may have another two wheel female on the road soon!

Aren't those clouds cool?

I stopped again at a park that's about 17 miles South of Anchorage for this one.

One more before turning around just past the 28 mile marker.

By this time it was getting cold, 29 degrees according to my indicator and I decided to turn around and head for home. I wanted to stop at mile 24 for the temporary digital billboard size road sign that warned of falling rocks for the next three miles, but there was already a car pulled over on the side of the road and I decided not to stop.

I rode back toward town enjoying the sunshine.

Right on the edge of Anchorage is a long hill where the speed increases from 55 to 65. I sped up to 65 and all of the sudden I saw an old rusty car coming up fast behind me. This is a four lane road, two in each direction, I was in the right hand lane so I breathed a little easier when he switched into the left lane. No sooner than the car got the front passenger door past me though and the driver drifted into my lane! I hit my brakes hard and he slid in, never so much as acknowledging that he almost took me out.

I am SO glad I spent that little bit of time practicing. I won't say I couldn't have avoided him anyway, but having just practiced my drills sure didn't hurt!

Anyway, Farkle and I made it home safe and except for a brief butt pucker moment had a wonderful day of sMiles.

Friday, March 21, 2008

First Ride of 2008!

I'll start off with a general apology. I didn't take any pictures of my ride today because the areas that are worth picture taking are still snowed in. One of my absolute favorite rides is along Turnagain arm to Portage Glacier. I read in the paper this morning that they got three feet of snow over the past two or three days. This is only 60 miles or so from Anchorage! So, when the temp broke 36 this afternoon, and Bobby told me he'd bid to stay out the first half of April, I decided I could wait no longer!

It took me a while to maneuver my bike out of the corner we had put it in for the winter, but eventually I worked it out far enough that I could get it off the center stand and ride out of the garage. Our neighborhood still has a few icy spots, but nothing I couldn't handle, then I was on the road!

First I went to the gas station and filled up the bike, and answered a few questions about the bike from an older guy who was gassing up his truck. I could see the envy in his eyes when I topped out at three gallons and waved good-bye. Maybe it was the gas bill for my F650 compared to his Escalade, but I think part of it was envy that I was riding and getting covered in road spray while he was stuck sitting comfortably in a leather interior with climate control.

I didn't go anywhere in particular, just rode around and enjoyed the feeling of freedom after a winter of confinement. The bike ran great. The blue dash was fantastic. And it was nice being able to glance over at my charge guard and see that it warmed up to 38 degrees in some areas. I used my heated grips, but not the jacket. I didn't need it, and though chilly, I had a smile the whole time.

Now it is time to introduce everyone to my new buddy whom I've had since my birthday, but who I didn't want to introduce until he had gone for a ride with me.

Meet Farkle.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Into Kansas City!

Day 25

From the Ozarks to Kansas City is a fun ride. The day started with some frustration, as ants got into our helmets during the night and we had to take the helmets apart to get them out. But once we hit the road, we had nice riding.

We stopped at a McDonalds for a quick breakfast in a town whose name I have forgotten. As we were preparing to leave, a male employee was cleaning the restrooms. He had the giant rolls of toilet paper layed out on one of the tables at the back, and had just finished mopping the floor. Two ladies walked to the back, and asked, "Oh, are they closed?"
He replied, "Do you need to use them?" One of the ladies said, "Yes, badly." The guy said, "Well you can go on then, you can go but you're gonna have to wipe with your shirt cause there ain't no toilet paper. But it's your choice." The two ladies just walked on in. The toilet paper rolls left lying untouched on the table 6 inches away. Bobby turned to me and said, "Tell me I didn't just hear that." We started laughing so hard, we had to wait a few minutes before we were in control enough that we could get our gear on to ride.

In mid-afternoon after a water stop, Bobby's warning light came on indicating he had a headlight problem. We found an internet coffee shop next to an auto supply dealership and I went inside while Bobby walked over to get the bulb so he could fix his light. Without going into the unprintable details, Bobby had trouble getting the bulb replaced. While he was working on it, I pm'd a friend I knew from TwoWheelFemales and asked if she had any route suggestions, or info on a BMW shop in Kansas City. Not only did she offer a great route suggestion, she offered to ride out to meet us and guide us into town!

The ride on Missouri route 7 is fantastic. Lots of scenery, and the road is like a roller coaster ride. We had a ball. My friend, known online as Dakar, met us as planned, and led the way into Kansas City. We got to a Holiday Inn Express, cleaned up, then met her back down at the famous Latte Land. We all went out to a great sushi dinner and spent several hours talking and eating great food. Too Cool!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Memphis to the Ozarks

Day 24

Leaving Memphis we almost immediately crossed into Arkansas. Once again we had perfect riding weather. Storms have been going through and cleaning the air so by the time we get there everything is crisp and clear. This must be the time of year when EVERYONE is mowing the side of the road. The mowers are everywere, and with them the smell of freshly cut grass. I'm loving it!

The morning ride was through flat farmland. Lots of tractors were out working the fields. We stopped for a while to watch crop dusters at work. Bobby mentioned that he'd considered that line of flying at one time. I'm glad he chose something safer. I didn't know these guys are so regularly flying close to power and telephone lines that they have wire cutters on the gear, wings, and prop! That's scary!

By afternoon we were in the Ozarks. This is beautiful country. Rolling hills, tree, lakes - looks like deer heaven. I do NOT want to ride this area at dawn or dusk! We saw a gorgeous lake and pulled over for pics. From there, we spotted a campground where we spent the night. Found out later this is Lake Norfork. Our campground looks out over where a town used to be!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Denim Springs to Memphis

Started this morning in Denim Springs, LA and spent the night in Memphis, TN!

We arrived back into Natchez just in time to stop in and get lunch at Bobby's mom's house. It wasn't anything fancy, just sandwiches and fruit, with a tall glass of iced tea, but it sure tasted good!

After a leisurely lunch we got back on the bikes and headed North. What a great day. The riding was great and you couldn’t ask for a better destination. Riding the Blues Highway from beginning to end, and listening to live music in Memphis is an experience any Blues fan can appreciate. Almost every town in the Mississippi Delta has at least one famous Blues musician that called it home. And Memphis is legendary! Bobby decided to spoil me, so I got to park my bike at the Peabody!!! The ducks are cool, but for me the highlight of the Peabody is the BED! It has to have been the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in.

After we got cleaned up from our ride , we had BBQ ribs at the Blue's City Cafe, then walked Beale St. There were acrobats doing a performance in the middle of the street. As the sun went down and the neon came to life, the magic of Beale Street really set in. We finally settled into a little bar with a guy who used to play guitar with Johnny Cash. He and his band sounded so much like Johnny we almost wondered if he'd made some of the Man in Black's records. It's hard to beat great music and good drinks in a place with so much amazing history.