Tuesday, 13 July 2010

I'm Trying to Salute Fossil Fuels But...

I know I haven't mentioned any real details on the Salute to Fossil Fuels recently... this is largely because I haven't made any real concrete plans.  It's a funny thing, but I always forget just how small the window is for this kind of travel.  Summer really is a very brief period of time in which to cram all of our nice-weather activities.  I really must pick a date and map out an itinerary shortly.

I have made some progress on preparing for the SFF.  When I went home for the Canada Day long weekend I successfully loaded my bike into the bed of my truck without any assistance.  Mind you I very nearly caused myself some serious injury in the attempt, but I'm sure I'll get better with practice.  Last time I visited my doctor he gave me very specific instructions to not drop any single-person motor vehicles onto my head, and came perilously close to disobeying that order a couple weeks ago.  You see, it's a very natural thing when pushing a motorcycle to stand on the left side of the bike.  This is because it puts you with in operating distance of the kickstand.  However, the front break lever is attached to the right handlebar.  This is not normally a problem, but as I pushed the bike up the ramp it got high enough above me that I was no longer able to grip the front brake, which eliminated a lot of control and stability at a very crucial time.  I managed to keep things under control and hoist myself into the truck with the bike and get everything righted in the end.  My lower back muscles needed a couple minutes to just chill out after that, but other than that I managed the whole operation without any damage to myself or my bike.  I consider that my "proof of concept" for the SFF.  I know now that I should be standing on the right side of the bike while loading it and I'm sure it will be a much smoother operation in the future.

As an interesting side-note to my tale of almost dropping my bike on my head, I did get to witness the classiest of all acts: a shouting match in the middle of the street.  I had my bike fully in the truck bed and was just catching my breath and trying to stretch my lower back a bit and I heard a shout of "Do you have some kind of a problem?"  I thought to myself "Why yes, yes I do, thanks for asking" and partially turned to see who was offering their assistance.  That's when I realized that two people had pulled up alongside each other, just behind my truck, so that they could give each other some friendly driving advice.  My bike and I spent some time leaning on each other while these two fine, upstanding gentlemen described to each other in colourful detail the numerous way in which they were both deficient behind the wheel of a car.  I'm sure they both came away from the exchange enlightened and refreshed.  Anyway, back to the show...

Now that I'm feeling more confident in my ability to take my bike with me on long-haul journeys I should be in a position to start mapping out a route.  Unfortunately I may have hit a snag on Saturday.  I was riding along at a fairly constant speed and my bike started coughing, losing power and then regaining it again in rapid succession.  I gave it some gas and the problem disappeared, never to rear its ugly head again for the rest of the (fairly lengthy) ride.  Could be an isolated incident, but I'd rather be certain before planning a trip around motorcycling. I've had some issues in the past getting the bike into and out of neutral, so it's possible that I'm having transmission issues and that the bike was slipping in and out of gear while I was riding.  I'll have to get that looked at, and soon.

So, with all that said, I still need a route, and I'm just not sure what I want that to be.  I'm not sure where I can go for some epic driving roads, especially not in the immediate vicinity.  I'm afraid that my trip to North Carolina may have spoiled me a little; the grand selection of the finest curvy roads imaginable has set my standards pretty high.  If anyone knows where I can hit some good roads I'd love to hear it.

Well, that's where I stand right now; no plan, and a potentially injured bike.  I'll get a plan put together eventually though, don't you worry.  I consider it at least part of this blog's function to show the process by which I find myself on the go.

As a final note, any of you who regularly keep up with the Comments section of each post will be very familiar with my Aunt J, who is a contender for the title of Top Commenter (competing fiercely with Jabbles.)  I hope you all take a moment today to wish her a happy birthday.

Have a great week everyone.


Colin Young said...

I'll be the first! Happy Birthday Aunt J! :)

Jabbles said...

No fair, you can't comment first.
Happy birthday Aunt J!!!

I just saw a Facebook post from a MINI friend
"US 41 north of Calumet is an awesome MINI road. Pretty smooth, curvy and has plenty of hills. I recommend it."
Looks to be way up North in Michigan I am sure there would be some great camping up there.

I would post a link but it is huge and I apparently do not have permission to make it all pretty like I would want.

I assume you bike is under warranty? I certainly hope so, I would not hazard a guess, but you a right to get it looked at sooner than later.

Colin Young said...

My friend Mike said the coughing might just be that I'd left it sitting for a week, and that Honda bikes have always had issues getting into neutral, but I'm still a bit nervous.

US 41 sounds pretty sweet! That's the funny thing about awesome driving roads - so hard to find except by word of mouth.

Mike just got back from a driving vacation in New Hampshire. Sounds like the White Mountains National Forest area is pretty sweet. Check out highway 112 running out of North Conway, NH, I think you'll find the Google Maps and StreetView images pretty appealing. Google Maps estimates the Toronto to North Conway run at around 10 hours, so that'd be a pretty long haul, but the route passes through Montreal, which could make for a fun stop-over.

I always think of Michigan as being the closer destination, but Google Maps calls the drive up to Calumet 13.5 hours... so basically Sarnia to Calumet or Toronto to North Conway work out to about the same.

Check out http://sundaymorningrides.com/

If you go to the "Rides" section they've got user-submitted routes with maps and elevation tables. Pretty sweet site.


Jabbles said...

Yeah I think your route looks cooler. I know there is a MINI in the Mountains event I am not sure but I think it's in NH or possibly Maine. Too bad for me it's more like 16 hours, doable but a bit much even for a long week end.

Colin Young said...

It'll still be nice in early October, let's do it up while you're in T.O. for school in the fall.

Jabbles said...

Great idea!
I seem to have misplaced my paperwork with the exact dates but I have a copy at work, I am quite sure there will be a long week end in there somewhere.

Aunt J. said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes but I'm not sure I want to be another year older. That just means I'm that much closer to early retirement. Mind you, your Dad will just beat me on that one (sorry about that Dan!).
Oct. would be a great time for a road trip especially in NH. The fall colours will be wonderful.