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Well, last Friday I watched my car pull away and leave me with only the Harley for transportation. So of course, on Monday I get a call for a job interview – 250 miles away. The good news is that the interview is midday, so there is a chance I can ride up and back all in one day. I’ve done 400 miles plus meetings several times before, but 500 miles is about the most I’ve ridden in one day. And that was the return journey from Sturgis. And I remember that as being a long day that had a nice lunch, and not an interview, in the middle.

Did I mention the interview was in Winnipeg? Canada? I haven’t been to Canada in several years. Winnipeg is a great city, but it’s a city. I’ve never really ridden the bike in big city traffic before. Or in another country. Looks like I’m going to be in for another adventure. Well, at least so far the forecast looks pretty durn good. Upper 70s to low 80s with a small chance of showers/t-storms. We’ll see how that changes as it gets closer. I plan on leaving waaaay early in the morning to allow for rest and getting lost time. And I reserve the right to bag it and crash out somewhere on the way back. I just hope they don’t schedule me for work right away on Thursday morning, but I bet they will.

I knew this kind of stuff could/would happen, just didn’t expect it quite so soon. Well, at least there’s a dealer only a few minutes away from my interview location that I can visit. By this time next week it will be a “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” story.

Ain’t that what riding is all about?

Leap of Faith

Well, today marks the 1 year anniversary of picking up my Sporty from the dealer and putting on the first miles for both it and me. That would be momentous enough, but today is notable for today’s events as well. This is the day that I sold my car and went 2 wheels only. Times are still tough and I had to make a choice. The bike fits into the budget and the car didn’t. And while the car is a necessity for hauling stuff and people, we’re going to try to get by without it. I feel bad for my son who just finished his classroom drivers ed, and now we don’t have a car for him to learn to drive.

It’s obvious I’ve got some trepidation about this. I might be feeling better about it if it weren’t 35 degrees and raining today. And I interviewed for a job that’s an hour away. If I get the job it’s going to be a challenge to have only the Harley for commuting. But part of me is looking forward to the challenge of making this work. And hopefully by fall, I’ll be able to get a car again without having to sacrifice the bike. *Crossing my fingers that things get better soon.*

As far as bike trips go, my class is now over so my weekly 200 mile rides are not required. That just means I now get to go where and when I’d prefer.

Wish me luck.

What a Spring

Been riding for a couple of weeks now. We have had a stretch of weather that’s pretty close to unbelievable. Great temps – even pushed 80F one day – and sunny skies, and occasionally very little wind. The kind of weather you wish for.

Been riding the bike most everywhere. Am trying to sell my car and expect (hope) to have only the Harley for at least the summer. Not quite sure how I’m going to manage things like shopping, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

My big ride each week is heading off to my class about 90 miles away. It’s all Interstate, so not my favorite type of riding. I find myself not enjoying the ride so much since there is a time pressure associated with the ride – on the way there to get to class on time and on the way home to beat darkness. But any excuse for a ride works for me.

This past weekend I stopped by a custom bike shop that a friend of mine has. Hadn’t seen him in a few years and didn’t realize they’d opened a shop. Not surprised though. Talked to him about switching out my handlebars for some mini-apes. He didn’t think it would be a problem at all and thought he’d done one already. After pricing out bars, cables, turn signals, etc. he thought it would run about $800. Well I don’t have two nickels to rub together at the moment, so it will have to wait. But it’s nice to know a ballpark number.

Last weekend was especially beautiful out and I suspect everyone who owned a motorcycle was on it. Which means there were several accidents. Fatalities actually. Terrible. Hopefully we’re past the worst of it for the year.

At this point I’m looking forward to just taking a joyride on the bike. I’d love to hit a two-lane with nowhere to go and enough change in my pocket to buy lunch. Hope it’s not too long before I can pull that off.

Odometer: 5674 miles

Shake Down

Well, one day after getting the bike out of storage, the weather was good and I had no excuse to not take the bike to my afternoon class. Mind you, this class is about 90 miles away.

Getting ready to head out, I had forgotten everything I need to remember before taking a significant ride. Chaps, gloves, glasses, etc. And I was kind of in a hurry to leave because I didn’t want to have to hurry on the road. Decided to strap on the tool bag to the front fork and shove the rain gear in the backpack. Headed off to my favorite bar for lunch before hitting the road. (And while I was there I got to witness Twins player Denard Span hit his mom with a foul ball. Yikes!)

Headed north on the Interstate and once again found myself settling in around 60-65mph. Speed limit is 75mph, but the bike seemed stiff after the long winter and maybe I was too. So just took my time and enjoyed the scenery. Amazing to think that just two or three weeks ago there was still deep snow on the ground. There’s a rest area halfway along the journey, so I stopped there to take a breather. Had a pretty good crosswind I was dealing with (later found out it was about 35mph) and that was making my shoulders tight. Plus the rest areas have free wifi, so I jumped on the net to catch up with things. Funny how riding can start up conversations. Sitting in the rest area with the laptop on my lap and lady asked if I was traveling home for Easter. I explained I was just taking a short trip for a class, but we got to talking just a bit. She had noticed the wind too.

And another thing I had noticed by now was that my sunglasses from last year were not going to work. The foam along the edges that keeps out wind and dust had come loose from the frame and just would not stick. So for part of the journey I had a piece of foam in my field of vision that was getting quite annoying and possibly dangerous. Good thing I had strapped on the tool bag, because that’s where I keep my spare pair of clear, nighttime glasses. Decided to swap them out. I don’t like the clear pair as well, but they were going to be better than the flapping foam.

After a brief rest, it was back on the road for the second half. Bike and I were loosening up a bit, but still not up to speed. About 20 miles down the road though, an RV passed me and the winds swirling around that thing nearly knocked the glasses off my face. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like them, they just don’t fit that well. Well, I decided to pull up the next exit ramp (Reynolds) to adjust them a bit before continuing on.

Got to Grand Forks with enough time to look for the Harley dealership up there. Always wanted to stop by, but never had gotten to town early enough before to make the trip. Now I was in need of new glasses so I had a good excuse too. Found it without too much trouble, but only because I know a little bit about getting around up there. They really need to improve their billboard’s directions. Walked in and there were a few folks there. Small place, but it had what you need. No one paid me any attention, but I found what I was looking for. Of course, all the glasses were over $100, so it was a no-go for me. Did find a strap to put on my current pair, and picked that up hoping it would help. Funny thing too about that place. Parking lot was full of cars/trucks. I was the only bike in the lot. And such a beautiful day too. (Read into that what you want.)

Went and gassed up before heading over to the university. Parked in my usual visitors lot and even was a good girl and paid the parking meter. Was supposed to stick the receipt on my dash. ??? Stuck it under a cable somewhere. Whatever. I had a clear conscience. But as I was looking for a spot to stick the receipt, I noticed that my tool bag was hanging on by only one strap (instead of two). Yikes!!! Got that fixed up right away.

Luckily for me, class got out a half-hour early. I had gassed up before class because I knew I’d be racing the sunset home. I’ve not ridden much in the dark yet, and twilight can always be dicey. So I hit the road and headed south. Not much interesting happened on the first half of the journey. Once again, I stopped at the rest area just to shake loose and stretch a bit, and put a bandanna over my disgusting hair. Was a quick stop though as the sun was getting lower in the sky. The second half of the ride home I finally got loose and started hitting 70+mph. Maybe it was the traffic, maybe it was the sunset, and maybe it just took 150 miles or so to get reacquainted with the bike. The ride felt good, except it was a bit chilly by the time I got home. And the last 20 miles or so was riding through flooded fields so the water made the temp drop even further. Saw only a few other bikes on the road. Well, actually none on the ride up and only a handful on the way home. Plenty in towns, but few in-between.

Decided to ride through town as I just wanted to take a break from the wind for a bit. Always a challenge for me to stop at that first light/sign after coming off an Interstate ride. Kinda stiff and never quite sure the hands/feet are working properly. Got home within 15 minutes of sunset so not so bad.

Glad I rode the bike to class. Had no excuses not to, and no regrets that I did.

(However, as I’m writing this the next day, I’d forgotten how physical riding actually is. Muscles are a bit stiff today. And I can tell you which way the wind was blowing by which arm hurts more. 🙂 )

P.S. Helmet. Yesterday I wore my helmet to pick up my bike. In only the 20 minute trip across town it was already getting painful. Apparently I just cannot wear that thing anymore. Need to find a new one. Soon. Could have used it for the trip to Grand Forks. Would have helped keep me warm a bit and helped the glasses situation too.

Odometer: 5228 miles

Round Two

Yaaaaay! The riding season started for me yesterday. The weather has been great since the weekend, and I was more than chomping at the bit. Had asked the dealer to haul it back to town more than a week ago, but hadn’t heard a thing. So I had made tentative plans to catch a ride for the 100-mile trip for that afternoon. Made a quick call to the dealer to let them know I was coming, and lo and behold, they had hauled it yesterday and it was in town waiting for me. 🙂 While I would have liked the ride (the day was gorgeous), I did appreciate not having to take half a day just to go get it.

So I started work and switched the plans to pick it up over lunch hour. Went home to grab the gear and found a huge box waiting for me from the Harley dealer. Huh? I didn’t order anything. What is this? Parts left over from winter storage? What’s left of my bike after an accident? As it turned out, it was the cover they had on it over the winter. Forgot about that. Curious that they didn’t just bring it with the bike. (I really do need saddlebags.)

The next surprise waiting for me was in the mailbox. Got the bill for the service work they did over the winter. Was expecting that, so no big deal. But I had three points of contact with the dealer in one day. That’s what was surprising.

Anyway, headed across town to go get the bike. And there she was, all shiny and clean. I almost forgot what it looked like (except it’s the wallpaper on my computer). Guy rolled it out of the bay while I geared up and I sat on it and it all came back. Had a brief moment of re-orientation to the controls, but that didn’t take long at all. And the riding came back pretty naturally. Just like riding a bicycle. 😉 Gassed up, headed home, then rode it to work.

Looking forward to a long riding season this year. Spring has come early and is looking good so far. I expect to be car-less shortly, so the motorcycle is going to be it for transportation. Kind scares me, kinda excites me. Either way, that’s the way it’s going to be.

Talk to you again soon.

Odometer: 5055 miles

Waiting Is The Hardest Part

I’ve neglected putting up the final post from last year’s riding season. In October, the weather had been cold and rainy but I was convinced that I was still going to get some riding in. But after two weeks of nothing fun and the forecast looking even worse, I submitted to the inevitable. Really wanted to ride the bike the 100 miles to the dealer, but couldn’t find an afternoon that was going to work. Finally settled for a couple of hours riding around town in the cold and wind before dropping it off at the pick-up point. October 27th that was.

And of course we had some absolutely gorgeous weather in November. Not ever going to put her away again before December 1st. You should have heard me whine about “I should be riding.”

When I bought the bike I expected to ride it only one season before trading up to something bigger. Maybe a Street Bob or a Heritage Softail. Well life has thrown me a few curveballs (pelted me is more like it), and it looks unlikely that I will be able to do that this year. So I had reconciled myself to tweaking the Sporty and making her mine. Well, the curveballs just kept coming, so the only thing I was able to do this winter is get the 5,000-mile service done. I’m still hoping to manage saddlebags early in the season, but beyond that I’m not counting on much. Handlebars would be next, but it seems the ones I wanted don’t fit my bike. Of course, that shouldn’t stop me. But without cash to make it happen, I’m just biding my time on that one.

The days are now starting to get longer and we finally got above freezing this week. It’s certainly not yet riding season here, but the local bike show is in a couple of weeks and it won’t be too long after that. Having spent a week in California in early February, I really started to get the itch for riding again. And the weekly drives to my grad class would be a fun little “stretch of the legs” on the bike. I’m betting that the semester will be over before I’ll be able to make that ride though. 🙁

I have to admit that I’m already looking forward to Sturgis too. Just this week, my cousins sent some snapshots of our time there last year. Jeez, did THAT get me going. Got some advice too on where to camp at The Buffalo Chip, which I hope I can make sense of once I’m there. Any new job I get is going to have to accommodate that week off – paid or unpaid.

Well, hopefully the posts will be picking up soon. I’m thinking riding season is a little over a month away. The bike’s been in storage for 130 days now and Sturgis is 155 days away. I want both those numbers to go down.