My Motorcycle Ride in the Cold to Eat Fast Food 320 Miles Away-Need To Get Heated Insoles

October 19th, 2009

The other day, I got off of work at 10AM. I called my brother at about 8:45 and asked him if he wanted to go for a ride. He informed me that his insurance has lapsed on his motorcycle, and he cannot ride it until he gets coverage. I offered to let him ride one of my “spare” motorcycles, and he said he would have to call me back. He asked his wife if he could ride, and she said no way. I understand, as Sunday is his only day off and she wants to spend time with him and not on the back of a bike when the temps are in the 30s.

I decided to take a ride anyway. This was a spur of the moment idea, so I left from work, still wearing my paramedic uniform under my riding gear. I jumped on the bike and started heading south on I-77. I was not sure which of 4 routes I was going to take, but I-77 would get me to some fantastic rides on two lane roads.

I called Amy and asked her where she was (she spent the night in LaGrange, KY, my old hometown) and she was going to go look at a horse in southern Indiana this morning. I turns out that they overslept, so they were getting a late start on the day. I decided then that I would ride toward Kentucky and see if I could meet them.

I rode to I-70 West then to I-71 South. In Cincinnati, I decided that I would head toward Lexington, KY as I would have enough time to get there and eat at Taco Tico. I could have gone to one in Louisville, but that is 20 more miles from my house. Eating in Lexington should give me enough time to eat, then make it back North to Florence (home of the Florence Y’ALL water tower) and intercept Amy, her Mom, and the girls.

320 miles after leaving my job for the day, I found myself eating at my favorite fast food joint in Lexington, KY. When I walked into the restaurant, the guy working in the back said to me “Hey, you’re the guy from Ohio who travels to Tennessee on that bike.” I told him that he was right. He told me that he does not see many BMW motorcycles stop at the restaurant, and that is how he recognized me. He remembered what I always order, and even had a 1/2 gallon bag of hot sauce ready to sell me (I always buy their hot sauce, I love it).

I finished eating and called Amy. She was still at the farm in Southern Indiana. I hit the road toward home. The next time I talked to Amy, I was in Cincinnati, and they were just getting back on the road. I knew then that intercepting them was going to be out of the question, as they were going to be several hours behind me.

I had good intentions of meeting with my family on this ride, it just didn’t work out. At least I had a beautiful day to take a 640 mile fast food run. I did not have my camera, as I left from work (Amy actually had it with her). The sky was as clear as can be. The temp when I started was 36 degrees. The high temp for the day was 60. The last two hours of my ride were the coldest, at 35-33 degrees. I was pretty comfortable, thanks to my heated liners in my suit. I did discover that I would love a set of heated insoles for my boots though.

For anybody who may be interested in heated insoles for Tour Master heated clothing, here is what they look like.  My Uncle Greg has these and loves them.  I am going to order a set of them as soon as I am done posting this. Click on the picture to see the product description.

Electric Heated Insole

Bicycle Riding with My Four Year Old Daughter

September 8th, 2009

Kaitlyn and I riding our bicycles on the Towpath Trail in Canal Fulton

Kaitlyn and I riding our bicycles on the Towpath Trail in Canal Fulton

Sometime in May, i took the training wheels off Kaitlyn’s bike. Kaitlyn is my four year old daughter. She had been riding a very small bicycle with training wheels all around the first floor of our house, as we have an open floor plan in the house. Secretly, several weeks before I removed the training wheels, I moved them up so that the wheels would not touch until the bicycle was leaned over a good amount. I watched for a couple of weeks as Kaitlyn rode around the kitchen and foyer, the training wheels were almost never touching the ground. She was riding a bicycle and keeping her balance very well, so that is when I took the training wheels off and the bike got moved outdoors.

Kaitlyn’s first experience outdoors on her bicycle without training wheels went very well. Kaitlyn started in the grass with me holding her up and doing the “run and release” start. Kaitlyn told me to let her know when I was going to let go, but she had already been riding 50 feet and didn’t know that I had let go. She rode for hours that night, eventually grasping the concept of turning, but taking many tumbles to get that concept. We made Kaitlyn wear long sleeves, long pants, and her helmet, as we expected far more falls than she actually experienced.

Fast forward several months and several trips to the local baseball field for riding practice. I needed to keep a promise to Kaitlyn. On the first day of riding without training wheels, I told her that I would reward her with ice cream. She immediately said that she wanted to ride her bike somewhere for ice cream, something that we could not do on her first day riding, but I promised her that “one day” we would ride somewhere for ice cream. It was time to make good on that promise, and Kaitlyn had not forgot about it. We loaded the bicycles in the van with the stroller. We headed out to the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Canal Fulton, OH. Amy pushed Ashley, our two week old baby, in the stroller and Kaitlyn and I headed north from Lock 4 Park toward the Cherry Street Creamery in scenic Canal Fulton. My speedometer battery was dead on my bicycle, as I had not used it in several years, but I estimated the distance to be about one mile to the ice cream shop. We ordered our ice cream and enjoyed it on a bench in front of the shop, then we headed south again on our bikes. When we reached Lock 4 Park, Kaitlyn was upset that the ride was over, she wanted to continue south. When Amy caught up to us, she agreed to take the van to the next trailhead and pick us up (the next trailhead is about 1.5 miles away). Kaitlyn had just ridden between 3 and 4 miles on her first real bike ride! I was amazed and excited.

Two days later, Kaitlyn wanted to ride her bicycle again, so we went to the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail again at Lock 4 Park in Canal Fulton, OH. We rode into town and had breakfast, then returned so Amy could get the van and meet us at the next trailhead. Kaitlyn was not ready to stop after 3.5 miles, she wanted to keep going. Keep going is what we did. After 8 miles, I had to stop so that I could make it to work on time. Kaitlyn was disappointed that our ride was over “already.” I promised her that I would take her on a longer ride tomorrow and she was happy again. We drove to the local bike shop and bought a bell and a basket for her bike, then went home.

The next day arrived, and we went to Canal Fulton again and rode north into Summit County. We rode the Towpath Trail through Clinton, OH and continued north past Locks 3 and 2. We stopped at 5.5 miles from the van and we headed back. We arrived back at the van after riding 11 miles. This was the first time that Kaitlyn was not upset about not continuing a ride. She was tired and after our ice cream, she fell asleep within minutes of getting in the van. She later talked about how fun it was taking a long ride on her bike. I am sure that I got to hear her new bell for the bike for all 11 miles. She took her teddy bear “Max” with her on the ride (he rode in the basket).

Kaitlyn riding through the ruins of a lock on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail

Kaitlyn riding through the ruins of a lock on the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail

While researching rides to take with my four year old daughter, I looked at riding the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail north from Akron. During my research, I discovered that the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has a program called “Bike Aboard.” Bike Aboard lets you park your car at a train depot, ride the trail, and pay $2.00 per person and ride the train back to the depot that your car is parked at. Kaitlyn loves trains. She asks me all of the time if we can go ride a train (again). This is the perfect ride for her. I decided to try Bike Aboard out. We parked our car at the Akron Northside Depot and rode north on the Towpath Trail. Kaitlyn marveled at the scenery the whole way. We passed ruins of old locks along the canal, and crossed over new boardwalks and bridges. We got to see the train running south, then it passed us going north again. Kaitlyn was not told that we were going to ride the train, but that there was a “surprise” waiting at the end of the ride. We rode past two depots, and Kaitlyn stated both times that she felt great and wanted to keep riding. I calculated that we could make the Peninsula Depot with about 50 minutes to spare. We pushed on and arrived at the Peninsula Depot with 55 minutes to spare. Kaitlyn actually kept a faster pace toward the end of the ride than she had all day. When we arrived at the Peninsula Depot, we rode to a store to buy snacks and some juice, then rode back to the depot. Kaitlyn had just ridden 15.81 miles!!! We boarded the train where she continued to eat fruit and a Powerbar. After arriving back at the Akron Depot, Kaitlyn asked me if we could go somewhere else and ride our bicycles some more! She never said that her legs were sore.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad arrives at the Peninsula Depot in Peninsula, OH

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad arrives at the Peninsula Depot in Peninsula, OH

Kaitlyn has talked about her bicycle rides to anybody that will listen. I have always loved riding bicycles. My father used to ride with me all of the time when I was in school, and I hope it was half as enjoyable for him as it is for me. It has been great spending extensive amounts of time with oldest daughter. I can’t wait until my youngest daughter, Ashley, is old enough to ride in the bicycle trailer with me!

Radar Detector Reviews-What do You Use and Why?

August 25th, 2009

I have been considering the purchase of a radar detector to use on my motorcycle lately. I spend a lot of time on the road and I have owned a few radar detectors in the past. I have found that traveling with a radar detector gives me a nice reminder to watch my speed sometimes when my cruise control lets my car or motorcycle “run” downhill a little too fast (this is not as bad on the bike as it is in the minivan). Police love to sit at the bottoms of hills and run radar or laser and ticket people whose vehicles gain speed going downhill, even while coasting. I think that a radar detector is a little insurance policy to clue me in on the police radar waiting at the bottom of that hill in the weeds. When I was stopped on US 129 the “Tail of the Dragon,” a radar detector would have prevented the whole stop, as I would have known the trooper was at the bottom of a hill and would have used my brakes instead of just coasting in second gear down the hill.

My issue with searching for a radar detector is that there are so many to choose from, and there is so much radar detector manufacturer propaganda out there that it will make your head spin. Just when I find a review that I seem to get into, I see that on that very website they sell the radar detector that was reviewed as being the best. I don’t want a radar detector review from a website that sells radar detectors. I want a review of YOUR radar detectors. Let me know what radar detector you use and why you chose it over all of the other radar detectors available.

I am aware of a couple of websites that do not sell radar detectors, but have tests published. I know that there are some of them out there, and I have read a few reviews from them. There are also many sites that want you to buy a radar detector from them, and they publish biased reviews.

Consider this a “reverse radar detector review.” I am asking you to review what you have, instead of my usual review of what I have.

Benchmark Helmets and Bluetooth Motorcycle Intercom Update

August 3rd, 2009

Today, I found the advertisement for Benchmark Helmets and the IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 (and the BTS-200) bluetooth motorcycle intercom systems. I was looking through an old issue of the BMW MOA Owners News. I found a toll free phone number for Benchmark Helmets and it was different from the number that I obtained from their website. I contacted the phone number and I spoke with somebody about my IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 bluetooth motorcycle intercom unit that is not working properly. I was emailed a return form which I filled out and emailed back promptly. In about two hours I received another email that informed me to send back the faulty IMC Motorcom BTS-300 unit and it would be replaced.

I was very pleased with the service I received today from Benchmark Helmets. I am still concerned, however, about my multiple emails concerning this same BTS-300 (sent from the form on the Benchmark Helmets website) that remained unanswered. The first email that I sent was on June 22, and the last was on July 27.

I will keep everybody updated on the progress of my dealings with Benchmark Helmets and the bluetooth motorcycle intercom replacement.

IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 Bluetooth Motorcycle Intercom Review

July 27th, 2009

Over the past year, I have looked for a new motorcycle intercom to use on my BMW R1200 RT. I had installed my old Motocomm unit that I had on my Honda CB900 Custom, but over time, that intercom unit has slowly given up the ghost. It got to the point where I had trouble hearing Amy unless I raised my windshield all of the way up and ducked down against the tank. Amy could not hear me most times. The Motocomm intercom unit was about 5 years old and had served me well.

After much looking, I found the IMC Motorcom BTS-300 bluetooth motorcycle intercom.  I saw the advertisement for the IMC Motorcom BTS-300 bluetooth motorcycle intercom in the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America Owners News, which is a monthly publication sent out to all members of the BMW MOA. I read a few reviews of the IMC Motorcom BTS-300 including this review by Web Bike World. The IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 looked like just the thing I have been looking for in a motorcycle communications device.

I ordered the BTS-300 intercom (two of them actually, one for me and one for my passenger) from the IMC Motorcom website.  The order was processed very quickly, with me receiving the order in two days.  The BTS-300 was very easy to install.  The IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 is shipped with a boom mic for open or 3/4 helmets and a “button” mic for full face helmets.  We installed the “button” mics in both my helmet and Amy’s helmet.  On a test ride, we decided that there was too much space between Amy’s mouth and her microphone making it difficult for me to hear her.  When we got home from the test ride, we swapped out her mic for one of the boom microphones.  Switching the microphones allowed the mic to be placed closer to her mouth and I had no trouble hearing her at any speed.  As with most noise canceling mics I have used, you need to be able to “kiss the mic” meaning that you should be able to touch the mic with your lips if you stick your lips out in a “kissing” like move.

Pairing the IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 bluetooth motorcycle intercom can be a patience trying endeavor.  The instructions are a very poor translation to English.  The instruction manual for the BTS-300 intercom system has several stickers that are used to correct mistakes.  If the manual said to press the + button and that was wrong, the company just had somebody place stickers with a - over the error.  Who is the lucky guy that got that job?  Luckily I have paired many bluetooth devices and figured it out despite the best efforts of the instruction manual.

Most days on the commute to work, I turn on the bluetooth radio in my phone (a HTC Titan) and stream stereo internet radio over my Camos BTS-300 intercom.  The sound quality is great (as good as it gets with compressed audio formats, I prefer the sound of vinyl records myself, but that is another whole website).  The audio coming from my BTS-300 motorcycle intercom system is unmatched my the Motocomm unit that I used for so many years.  There are no issues with volume as long as you have the speakers placed properly.  The speakers need to be right over your ear canals, which I took great care in doing when we installed the units.  I cannot listen to my music with the volume all of the way up (unless using Pandora, which seems to provide a very low audio level for some reason).  When I receive a phone call, my music automatically pauses, and i take the phone call, then my music resumes when I hang up the call.

The buttons on the IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 are very easy to use with gloves on, once you have the placement of the buttons memorized.  I had no problems memorizing where the talk, mute, volume up, or volume down buttons are.

I ordered the bluetooth adapter sold by IMC Motorcom that allows a two way radio to be connected.  I connected the adapter to my motorola FRS/GMRS radio and was able to communicate with others using a Chatterbox motorcycle intercom system and my uncle who has an Autocom intercom system.  The bluetooth adapter came with an equally bad instruction manual.  This instruction manual goes into great detail on how to pair the bluetooth adapter to channel 2 on the bluetooth intercom system.  The benefit, acording to the manual, is that you can then have your phone paired to channel one on the intercom system and have a two way radio paired on channel 2.  This is a setup that I would LOVE to have, as there are many times that I ride solo on the BMW R1200 RT and communicate to somebody that has a Chatterbox intercom system over FRS radio, but would like to receive phone calls from my wife who is at home.  With my Motocomm intercom system, it was no big deal, as there were wires everywhere that I could hook things to.  Sadly, the instruction manual is dead wrong.  Even though the bluetooth adapter instructions state that it can be paired on channel 2, it cannot.  The instructions were written BEFORE the Camos BTS-300 was released.  Channel 2 can ONLY be used to pair another IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 unit.  IMC Motorcom needs to get this fixed, as I spent about 3 hours trying to do as the instructions said.  They need a “Chapter sized” sticker to correct that mistake.

Phone calls using the IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 motorcycle intercom system are great.  When I talk to people on the motorcycle, most cannot believe that I am not sitting at home.  While testing it out, I got on the freeway while speaking with my wife.  I placed the windshield all of the way down on the BMW R1200 RT and she could hear me just fine at 65 MPH.  I am not a scofflaw that would go speeding down the freeway, but I am an amateur scientist, so in the name of science, I took the liberty of testing my Camos BTS-300 intercom on a phone call at 80 MPH and still was asked by a friend “Are you really on the motorcycle?”  I have no problems hearing the people that call me.  The sound is probably as good as my cell phone can deliver.

The IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 motorcycle intercom system is advertised as a bike-to-bike intercom system.  To test the range of the Camos BTS-300 system, I enlisted the help of my 4 year old daughter.  We ordered a spare set of speakers for her helmet and we used a mounting clip to secure the second BTS-300 intercom box to her helmet.  If there are two things that she loves, it is talking and wearing a motorcycle helmet, so doing both at the same time is right up her alley.  For testing, we both put our helmets on and she walked across the yard toward her grandmother’s house.  There is a rise in between the houses, so I did lose sight of her at about 250 feet, but we were able to talk without static.  I lost communication with her at 300 feet, but she went down a good sized hill, there was no line of sight with the two radios.  When she climbed the stairs to her grandmother’s deck, I was able to talk with her at a range of 500 feet, as we had a clear line of sight.  Later that week, my sister wore a helmet with the IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 installed and she rode another bike so that we could test the bike-to-bike capabilities of the BTS-300.  We were able to communicate at ranges of about 1/4 mile sometimes in straight stretches of road.  When we were in hills and turns, the range dropped off significantly, but we were easily able to communicate at ranges that I normally ride with others in all types of topography.

I like the size of the IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 motorcycle intercom system.  It is very small, about the size of a small box of kitchen matches.  The IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 is much smaller than the Chatterbox system that my father-in-law has.  The BTS-300 uses a micro usb plug for charging and to plug the speakers into the BTS-300.

I have been having a problem with one of my IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300 units shutting off all of the time.  It has consistently been the same unit.  On a recent ride with my daughter to the local ice cream shop, I had to turn the unit back on 8 time during the 12 mile round trip.  I emailed the address listed on the website and have attempted to call their phone on several occasions without success.  I hate to think that I spent the kind of money that I did and they cannot be bothered to answer my calls or emails.  The local BMW dealer tried to contact the IMC Motorcom email and phone and also the email of Benchmark Helmets, the distributer of IMC Motorcom and Camos products in America, as he wanted to inquire about becoming a dealer for their products.  After waiting 3 months for return calls or emails, he gave up on Benchmark Helmets and IMC Motorcom.  If I cannot get my problem remedied, I will not do any business with IMC Motorcom or Benchmark Helmets again, which is a shame, because the units seem to be a great system, and I am sure that I have one that has a 1 in 100,000 type problem, but ignoring customers and potential customers is no way to make a name for yourself.  I am sending ANOTHER email to IMC Motorcom after posting this.  I will keep my readers posted on any progress in getting my problem fixed. I would strongly consider checking out other intercom units that may perform just the same as the IMC Motorcom Camos BTS-300, but with companies that do not ignore their customers. I am sure that my “ads by google” probably have several other companies that sell motorcycle intercom systems. Check any company for complaints about customer service before buying.

Riding Ohio’s Covered Bridge Scenic Byway

May 28th, 2009

 

Pictured here is my BMW R1200 RT in front of the Hune Covered Bridge from an earlier trip down Ohio's Covered Bridge Scenic Byway

Pictured here is my BMW R1200 RT in front of the Hune Covered Bridge from an earlier trip down Ohio's Covered Bridge Scenic Byway

Several weeks ago, I had some relatives come to visit from out of state.  We had a motorcycle ride planned that would take us to Maryland for lunch, but due to time constraints, we had to alter our ride plans.  Lately, I have been riding my motorcycle in Southeast Ohio in the Appalachian foothills and I thought I would like to ride Ohio Route 26 again.  I had ridden my motorcycle on this route once before and it was very enjoyable, and this was a route that we could take and still be home in time for the other riders to keep their evening plans.

We rode a route that took us down OH 800 to OH 26.  OH 26 is known as the “Covered Bridge Scenic Byway.”  It also is one of the curvier roads in the area making it a great motorcycle road.  OH 26 takes a course alongside the Little Muskingum River as it winds through the Wayne National Forest.  There are reported to be four covered bridges along OH 26, but I have only seen three on the times that I have ridden the route.  One of the covered bridges that is along OH 26 has been nearly destroyed in 1913, 1938, and again in 2004.  The Rinard Covered Bridge was most recently a victim to the remnants of several hurricanes that washed the bridge downstream in 2004 after dumping 8 feet of rain in the region.  The bridge was painstakingly restored using the original timbers to keep the historic designation.

One of the bridges that still stands is the Hune Covered Bridge.  Motorists can still cross this bridge, which is not common these days.  Most covered bridges that are still standing have been close to automobile traffic for many years, although Ashtabula County has been building new covered bridges, as the former County Engineer said that they were far more cost effective than a steel or concrete bridge that would only last 50 to 75 years.  

In the fall of 2007, Ohio had 141 remaining covered bridges, second only to Pennsylvania which has about 200 remaining covered bridges.  OH 26 is a great motorcycle road and has the added benefit of having the covered bridges.  I will be riding OH 26 again soon, and I plan on riding many of the other area roads while in the area. OH 26 from Woodsfield, OH to Marietta, OH is a very scenic ride that is easily accessible from Interstate 77.  The Covered Bridges Scenic Byway is 44 miles long.  The Marietta end of the route is very curvy and has some nice hills.  

If you decide to ride the Covered Bridges Scenic Byway, stop off in Woodsfield, OH at the Hometown Restaurant and treat yourself to a roast beef sandwich.  I had an excellent sandwich there.  My uncle at a meatloaf sandwich that he said was excellent.  Woodsfield is several hours from my house, but I may make the ride there again for the sandwich, it was that good.  We found this place after my GPS led me to a diner that was no longer in town, having been replaced with a Subway.  I asked a farmer that was outside the hardware where the “best food in town” was.  He pointed us to the Hometown Restaurant.

When you decide to ride OH 26, it is only 44 miles long, but plan on riding for a good part of the day, you will want to allow time to stop and enjoy some of the scenery.  We did not have time to do that this last time, but I will have more time the next time that I ride the Covered Bridges Scenic Byway.

See Also: Preserving Ohio’s Covered Bridges

                Ohio Covered Bridge Locations

A Motorcycle Ride to the Apple Store in the Driving Rain

April 14th, 2009

 

This photo was not taken by me, there are no storm clouds in sight.

This photo was not taken by me, there are no storm clouds in sight.

Two weeks ago, Amy’s charger quit working on her Macbook.  After attaching my charger to her Macbook, her battery charged fine.  Her charger would not work on my Macbook.  This troubleshooting confirmed that the problem was indeed the charger.  I decided to pay the Apple Store in Legacy Village a visit.  

Legacy Village is in Lyndhurst, Ohio, about 70 mile from home.  I left work, riding my BMW R1200 RT in light rain.  I rode about 20 mile to get home, grab the offending Magsafe charger, and head north.  It was raining considerably harder when I left on the motorcycle.  I was planning on taking the motorcycle, rain or shine, and that is what I did.  It had been raining for almost 24 hours and showed no signs of stopping.  This trip was as much to test the “waterproof” claims that Olympia places on their liners in the gear that I wear as it was a chance to see the Apple Store. I had my trusty Frogg Toggs in case my Olympia gear left me wet.

 

While riding to Legacy Village, the weather and my gear did not let me down.  I kept plenty warm with my Tour Master Synergy heated liners in my Olympia Patton Mesh Tech Field Jacket and Olympia Ranger 2 pants.  I kept as dry as I do wearing my rain suit.  I did not get the least bit wet while riding my motorcycle, even though there were times I had to slow considerably due to poor visibility because of the heavy rain.  When I arrived at my destination, the looks of disbelief were priceless.  People could not believe that some bonehead was riding his BMW motorcycle in the rain.

My experience at the Apple Store Genius Bar was terrific.  The Apple Genius checked my charger, which had somehow started working again prior to arriving at the Apple Store.  The Genius told me that he knew that I did not ride 70 miles in the pouring rain to make up a charger not working.  The magsafe charger was replaced free of charge under warranty.  

My ride home was in the same rain, but the wind was about 25 MPH sustained with 45-50 MPH gusts.  These winds were straight out of the west and I was riding due south.  On my Honda CB900 Custom, these winds would have been terrible to ride in, but on the BMW R1200 RT it was very manageable.    

I have always ridden my motorcycles in the rain or shine, hot or cold.  This was the first time that I tried out the “waterproof” claims of Olympia, and I was VERY pleased.  Before this ride, I always donned my Frogg Toggs rain gear if setting off in the rain.  I have since not worried about taking my Frogg Toggs out of my bike if I need to carry a few more things, as long as I am wearing my liners in my Olympia gear.

The Ice Finally Melts and I Get To Ride My Motorcycle To Work!

February 16th, 2009

We have had lots of snow and ice this winter.  Winter in Northeast Ohio usually comes with cold and snow, but this year, at least according to the local weather guessers on TV, has been quite a bit worse than “normal.”  Even after the snow and ice melted from the streets, we had ice six inches thick in parts of our driveway.  Finally, after a week of almost 60 degree high temperatures, the ice in the driveway melted and I was able to take the BMW R1200 RT to work.  It was 17 degrees when I rode to work, and it was 25 degrees on my way home.  I rode home at 8:00 AM and more snow hit at 10:00 AM.  I had to go to my other job and pick up some items, so I rode there too.  It is amazing how much more I enjoy commuting on the motorcycle than driving the truck.

Hopefully I will have a chance to ride more.  Most of the roads I ride do not have salt on them right now, as we had a few storms last week that washed the roads.  I don’t like the thoughts of salt corroding my R1200 RT, so I try to ride it when the salt is gone.  

 It looks like I may get to ride to Martinsville, VA for the NASCAR race in March, I will post photos and a ride report.  I have a trip to Colorado planned for October.  Amy has plans for me to have camera mounts on my bike before I go, sounds good to me.

Riding My Motorcycle in December and January

January 6th, 2009

I know that it is winter in Northeast Ohio, but we have had some terrible weather for riding a motorcycle.  We have had one “clipper” after another for much of the fall and now the winter too.  A couple of weeks ago, we did get a short two day break from this weather pattern.  I woke up in the morning, got ready to go to work, got my daily weather briefing and found that it was almost 60 degrees at 7:00 AM.  We had had a few days of rain prior to this, so all of the salt was washed from the roads.  I went outside and fired up the BMW R1200 RT and rode it to work.  It ended up being 68 degrees that day.  The next day on my ride home from work, it was 47 degrees, not quite as warm, but a heat wave compared to what we have had for over a month.  I managed to put 300 miles on the motorcycle in two days of riding.  Normally, 300 miles in two days is not worth mentioning, but in the last week of December, it deserves and honorable mention.  I do not care how cold it is, I can ride at 0 degrees with the excellent gear that I now own, but ice and snow and salt on the roads will make me drive my cage.


Since the weather has been pretty bad, I have not had much new material to post on this site.  I promise that I will try to go through some old photos and post a few ride reports of past rides I have done.  I have been updating some other sites, and this one has taken a back seat if you will, due in part to the weather.  A friend of mine “The Beach Bum” introduced me to blogging and I have enjoyed it.  Now that Thanksgiving and Christmas are past, I hope to have a little more time for updating my sites.  I have recently updated my blog for those who have switched to Mac computers from Windows based PCs.  I have also been updating the site for my union Jackson Professional Firefighters.

 I have started a new blog to provide information about the new red light cameras that Canton, Ohio has decided to install.  This blog is brand new and will probably end up with heated comments on both sides of the issue.  I have not made up my mind about these red light cameras yet.  Visit the site if this topic interests you.  I know that I am willing to listen to both sides.  I have seen dirty tricks played when Cleveland installed the red light cameras, will Canton do the same?

I am sorry for the rambling nature of this post.  Hopefully I will get to ride the motorcycle more soon, however January and February are not usually great months to take too many rides around the frozen tundra of Northeast Ohio.  I think I will go read about the beach at my friend’s blog.

Bad Weather for Riding-And Relief at the Gas Pump

December 10th, 2008

WOW!  What a bad stretch of weather we have been having.  Since I got back from Tennessee about four weeks ago, we have had snow, freezing rain, or both almost every day.  The days that we do not have snow or ice, we had enough the night before that I cannot ride to work.  While the RT is a very capable bike, I don’t relish the thought of sliding to work on the ice.  I will have to look through my older photos and post some ride reports for rides that I have taken in the past three summers.  I am sure that I have some photos somewhere, as Amy is really good about taking them.  When I ride alone,  I am bad about not taking photos.  I get focused on riding and forget to take photos.

Even though there has been lousy weather for riding the motorcycle, there is some great news.  As I am sure you have noticed, the gas prices are getting back down to where they should be.  Today, as I was driving to a friend’s house to work on a computer, a gas station in Waynesburg, OH had gas for $1.38.  I haven’t seen a price that low in years.  The CEO of Gulf oil was on Fox News the other day and he said that gas WILL fall to $1.00 per gallon.  I can’t wait.  The politicians want to talk about economic stimulus, well giving Americans the extra disposable income that they will have by cutting fuel prices to $1.00 per gallon will do far more than anything a politician can do.  In case you haven;t picked up on it in other posts, I am not one to wait on the Government to help me.  I tend to think that Government involvement is what messes so many things up.  I know one guy who doesn’t have a real job, he sits around mostly and complains about his situation, says that his chosen politician will fix everything, and wonders why he is in the same situation 30 years later even though he has been through several administrations in Washington.  That life isn’t for me!  The only person that can improve my situation is me!  Enough about my political views though.  Gas prices are plummeting despite OPEC’s best efforts and I am thrilled.

Look for my next post a little sooner than this one came.  I have been very busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations.  I know what you are thinking, “He said Thanksgiving and Christmas!”  That’s right people, I said it, unlike the employees of most of the stores you will do your Christmas shopping in this year.  I find it funny that they want me to spend tons of money on Christmas gifts, but then say they might offend me if they said Christmas.

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