Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Day at Home

After many weeks of long days with early mornings, weekends of motorcycle safety training, evenings of computer classes after the close of the day job, it just felt good to take a day off. A day off of motorcycle riding, even.

It wasn't a complete day off as I rode to breakfast to meet my friend Mindy who is struggling in a job search. She is a benefits specialist and tires of working for HR managers who have no concept of the benefits part of their business and its requirements.

There was a poker run that I had thought I would go to afterwards, but after spending all day, yesterday at a masonic function, I needed a day to rest and... well, do things like making a note on the blog and just seeing what kind of fun there might be on the Internet.

So, I caught up a bit with the bmwbmw web page and the Adventure Riders' page that needed an update since I've let my regular web page hosting expire. After that my landlady, neighbor, and riding companion, Susan, dropped in with coffee and a request to look at South Carolina motorcycle riding destinations. I showed her Google Earth.

First, we explored the coastline north of Charlestown. Then we returned and spotted the link to the Hunley, "The Secret Weapon of the Confederacy."

"I want to visit that!" she exclaimed.

It did seem like a good destination, for me, also.

Next, we explored the South Carolina coast line. As we did so, I looked enviously at all the terrain that would be out of reach of motorcycle explorations. I recounted what a former priest friend had told me, in Puerto Rico. He and his wife both enjoyed sailing. As he had been successful as a dentist, before becoming a priest, he could aford sailboats and the time to enjoy them. He had told me about the way one could get to places by sailboat that were unreachable by car: How before roads and cars transportation along the coast was by ship and settlements were created to meet the needs of those travelers. Many of such places are now bypassed by in-land roads and highways so that a visit to them is a visit back in time.

As I poured over the islands and beaches, I remembered this, and noted how many places might also be unreachable by sail boat -- given sand bars and shallow drafts. It made me think that someday there will be a market for personal dirrigibles.

Susan agreed to join me for an afternoon movie. We plan to see "Man of the Year." Then she took off to checkout an animal rescue operation that our friend Karin called about. I continued to explore Google Earth. I need to make a list of places that I want to visit.

Friday night, Todd Suda joined me for Oktoberfest at the Silver Spring American Legion post. He described the roads of southern Missouri, how they follow geography that was carved out by waters running off, below the ice sheets of earlier ages. So, I visited Brandon, Missouri and traced out some of the nearby roads, discovering a link to a National Geographic article about East Wind. After that I traveled by Google Earth to visist my mother's address in Tonopah, NV and travelled the nearby highways to discover a place to camp at Cave Lake State Park.

I returned to Tonopay, followed 95 south to Las Vegas. Where did 95 go from there? I discovered it was named "Veterans Memorial Highway and it led to Searchlight, NV and on to Needles, California with it's combination RV and Marine park and the beckoning intersection with old highway 66.

Somehow, I found Joshua Tree National Park, then ended up in Oceanside, California where GoogleEarth provided a very inviting video.

3000 motorcyclists attend service in Cologne cathedral - Yahoo! News

I hear of these events after they occur. Someday I would like to hear about them ahead of time and know that I have the wherewith all to attend and write about them.

3000 motorcyclists attend service in Cologne cathedral - Yahoo! News

Friday, October 13, 2006


I'm not having a lot of luck finding a vendor with aftermarket shocks for my BMW R1200 CLC, but here is a site that has lots of links for motorcycle shocks:

Sunday, October 08, 2006

On the Mend

It's almost been six months since I was rear-ended. I'm supposed to be all better at the six month mark. Well, perhaps I could be if I didn't have to work and could have kept going to physical therapy, or if I just got the physical therapy exercises done three times a week, perhaps. Still, I'm better, and getting better. Dizziness is gone, headaches are one every few weeks instead of constant (I can count on one finger the number of headaches I can remember having in my whole life prior to the accident). Forgetfulness also seems to be going away, and with that my self confidence returns, a bit. That the accident helped me find a new source of humility is not all bad.

One funny thing with the forgetfulness: Shortly after my accident I was showing somebody my digital camera. A few days later I realized it was missing. I could not remember who I had been showing it to, or where I was at the time (still don't). This last week, however, I was going through all my clothes and jackets looking for something else (I don't know what) and found it in a seldom-used photographer's jacket.

Then, Friday, I put on a pair of pants that I had not sent to the cleaners, that weren't pressed well enough for normal wear, but that I wanted to get a casual wearing out of, and I found a missing key to my motorcycle. A funny thing about that is that when it went missing, I looked everywhere between my motorcycle and the apartment and asked my landlady to be on the lookout. One afternoon, she was telling me about the plumber's visit, standing in my bedroom, and spotted an even earlier key of the same design that I had lost shortly after the accident amongst the knickknacks stuffed in a basket on my dresser. I knew it was an earlier lost key because it did not have the BMW Rondell logo on it. I think that she has one of those photographic minds that can see a page then read it's contents from the image in her memory without another glance.

One night, coming home from teaching in Gaithersburg, I switched the odometer to total miles rather than the trip-meter setting. I was three miles from turning 57,000 miles. In fact, I rolled over 57 just before crossing over the exact location of the May accident, Georgia & the 395 beltway. It felt good to see the next mile come up on the odometer. Like me, the bike has recovered and moved on.

This weekend, the motorcycle safety class was tough. It was wet and 50 degrees out, on Saturday. Today it was 50 to 70, but dry--a much better day. On the way to the range, I looked up to see what looked like a full moon in the early light of day break. After class, I rode up to Baltimore for shrimp at Maynards, followed the GPS that took me in the wrong direction through the tunnel. There was no getting off the freeway once I was on it until I was through a toll booth. The mistake cost me $2.00 each way, but it gave me a surprising treat. On the return trip, the twilight colors in the sky rendered the industrial parts of Baltimore I passed through into a very strange and beautiful landscape. It was like an accident turning into a cosmic bit of humor, what might have been a nasty joke ending with a very pleasant punchline.