Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Plans

Well unfortunately, the house did not sell at the auction. We are in the process of deciding what we will do from here as we want to get back on the road. I think that we will stay in Ohio through the holidays and look to leave in early 2015 to escape the winter.

Friday, October 17, 2014

One week until the auction!

October 23 is the auction for our house here in Kenton, Ohio. If all goes well, it will sell and we will have one less worry while we are on the road. It will also free up capital and house payments. Yeah! More money. Selling the house will force us back into the camper. When we came back in May we ended up moving back in and settling down again but we all feel the gravitational pull of travel and even Patrick is looking forward to going again. Partly because I told him for his birthday we would get him SCUBA lessons.
We all feel better in the trailer and on the road. There is something magical about traveling and exploring. I am so ready to go..
Keep your fingers crossed and say your prayers that God blesses with the sale of our house. Either way we will be looking to get back on the road by the middle of November. Florida, here we come.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Chasing the Tails

September 26 Friday. 
My whole route. Took about 12 hours start to finish.
The best part of the ride, 555, 78, and 37

    I always wanted to do Ohio 555 and 26. So that’s where I was headed. I had been wanting to get in a long ride on the M/C but she had been laid up for awhile waiting on a new fuel petcock and while the fuel tank was off, I finally pried off the valve cover and changed the valve cover gasket and checked the valves. I fueled up the tank from the gas can, put a cement block in the side car for some extra weight and hooked up the GPS unit. We call the GPS unit Lucy. When Lucy gets it wrong, we say to her in our best Ricky Ricardo impression, “Luccy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!"
Lucy liked it here but she got knocked off when I was shifting gears and got drug along 555 until I could get stopped. She took it like a trooper and escaped with minor damage and none to the screen.
   I got a late start around ten, dropped into Mt. Victory and bought a Mt. Dew at the drive through and then headed south on 31 to 47. I took 47 east almost to US 23. I dropped down to 202 on a back road and crossed over US 23 onto Ohio 229. I took 229 to Mt. Vernon where I got lost looking for 586 South not realizing that it ran with 13 out of town. I gassed up and filled up a one gallon spare fuel can that I was carrying in case I ran out some place because I only get 100 miles out of a tank of gas. That equals about 28 mpg. I found 586 and dropped south enjoying the scenery of a beautiful fall day in the high seventies and bright sunshine of crisp green hay fields and old leaves putting on their fall colors. The ground had started to roll and undulate under me instead of the dead flat of NW Ohio. A nice change of pace.
    As I approached 146, I reached over to slap the gear shifter down a few gears and found that it wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Back on 202, I noticed that the U-bolt was starting to slip over the lip at the end of the shifter and I had adjusted my shifting for it. But I hadn’t kept an eye on the shifter in the last few miles and the top jam nut had worked its way lose and now the shifter was twisted backwards and dragging on the ground. The bottom jam nut had ground off at an angle and I had lost the top jam nut. I pulled over in a conveniently placed pull off and turned the shifter and got it back on the bike shifter and tightened the top nut. Fortunately the threads had burred and the nut lacked down tight enough to get it to stay but I needed to find a permanent fix for the situation. 

I headed off again and could never resist the urge to look at water and turned in to look at the dam and lake at Dillon Lake state park. After the obligatory dam picture, I was off for Zanesville. 

I figured that I would see a hardware store on my way through town and by the time I got to the other side and was at the start of 555, I hadn’t seen one. I hit up the GPS and I ended up having to cruise all the way back through town and took a wrong turn because the GPS doesn’t tell you that the two lane road is about to become a turn only lane. But I saw a beautiful mural on the side of St. Nicolas Church of St. Christopher that I had missed earlier. We loved to decorate our houses of God. 
Borrowed from Wikipedia
Borrowed from Tiles of New York

   I routed back to a little hardware store that I had passed coming into town on 146. It was an independent store and the first thing I saw when I went inside was a large set of bookshelves and was loaded with old books. I found a couple of jam nuts and some zip ties. The old guy said that he had been in that location for forty years and he was trying to get rid of some of the large library of books that he had. If what he had at the store was any indication, he had a large and varied assortment at his home. I put on new jam nuts and then put a zip tie on the end of the shift peg so that the shifter wouldn’t slide off and then used a zip tie to loop through the u-bolt and around the foot shifter so that it wouldn’t slide off the end of the shift nub. That took a few minutes and then I was back on the bike with a quick stop at Wendy’s for the new BBQ sandwich and some petrol at the Marathon. Then I was off on 555 to ride the road. 

That bar just in front of the shifter is part of my foot rest. My toe sits on there.
    Back in my pervious walking life, I lived in TN and had the opportunity to ride the Tail of the Dragon on an old Suzuki GS400. Old Dickie Fry, who worked at Alcoa Good Times with me, had turned it into a cafĂ© racer with drag bars and mag wheels. I had bought it from him and rambled around the Smokies Mtns on it. Looking back I didn’t do nearly enough riding on that thing. But here I was hanging off the right side of the CB900C looking to find that Ohio Tail of the Dragon. 555 is a special road that I connected well with. Most of the time I was in third gear on and off the gas pressing the right side to keep the side car from flying and trying to turn the corners as fast as I could. A hack will never be a sport bike and I will never be able to ride it like one but that doesn’t keep me from trying and accepting the limitations. 
I love this picture, the road sweeping away into left hander.

   When I had the GS and then the 929RR, I found those moments of zen when the mind and body and m/c were connected and all in tune with each other. A place where nothing else existed except that connection, the road and the ride. I missed that connection and haven’t ever really felt in on the hack. It had a third wheel to keep it pinned to the ground. But on this ride, as the road dropped away in sharp lefts and rose into hard rights and raced over rising hills, I found that special place where nothing else exists except that connection.
   555 isn’t the Tail of the Dragon and never will be but it is a special road that I yearn to ride again with its hard turns, soft shoulders, alleys of tree tunnels and long vistas over rolling hills. By the end I was tired and thirsty. It had been a long day already and I still had a long way to go to get home. I wanted to go up to Marietta and take 26. It has always appealed to me. When the road looks like someone spilled their guts on the map and poked them around with a stick, it excites me and makes my blood pressure rise. Little doses of adrenaline kick off in the brain and I yearn for the feel of the bike moving between my legs.
    I knew I was going to ride home in the dark. So instead of heading west, I headed back east taking 50 around to Athens. I gassed up, got a sandwich at the gas station and chugged a bottle of water. I also got to see the volleyball team from a small college. They were all tall, lean girls, fit and trim, gorgeous. I felt like a old man sitting in the parking lot eating my sandwich and watching them. Well, time to suit back up.
   I took 13 up to Glouster and found 78. Some guy once pondered if this was Ohio’s TotD. I don’t think so. It was nice and curved up and down but it wasn’t even 555. It was a beautiful road and I got stuck behind some nobs on bikes going 25. I had to just grin and bear it because passing aint easy with a chair hanging off the side of my bike. I bidded my time and lost some of the best curves due to their slowness. I enjoyed the scenery. I have a theory about this. When slow cars or bikes get in front of me, I find it is God's way of telling me to slow down and enjoy the ride. That curve I just blew through might have been the one I botched really bad. Eventually they turned back on 555 because I was making a big loop headed for McConnelsville. I was going to hop on 60 N back to Zanesville when I remembered the big road closed signs I had seen on 60 as I headed south on 555. Then I saw the sign for 37 W. I hooked a right and blasted off on 37. 37 is a road that I know well north and west of US 23 as it runs right by mom and dad’s house. I have driven a lot of miles on 37 but I had never been on this part of is below 70. It dipped and rose and twisted all over the place and the curves were wide open sweepers that I could take at speed and I was ready to be home but I still had three hours to go. My arms were already starting to hurt and my back was sore. But still I was having fun.
    37 took me back to Lancaster and I briefly hopped on 22 and got turned around and headed east out of town again. I saw some new stuff and was chasing a guy on a Harley trike when it dawned on me that I was headed the wrong way. I got turned around and going the right way on 188. I caught a little side road off 188 realized it was wrong and then found the right one. The sun was low in the western sky and was making a beautiful sunset but it was right in my eyes. This little road eventually dumped me off on 752 and I blasted along West on a nice two lane. The roads were getting straighter and my throttle hand was getting heavier. The bike wanted to run at 65. The GPS was telling me that at 65 on the bike speedo, I was actually doing 67-68mph on the GPS. I let it eat, ignorance is a good claim. 752 lead to US 23 and I jogged north a few miles and found 762 west. I was finally on the home side of Columbus as the sun finally faded into darkness.
    When I bought the bike, it had a Vetter Windjammer fairing on it and I tore it off to get rid of the ugliness. I wanted a double light set up and built a beautiful custom piece but it drained my battery and overloaded the charging system so I ended up going back to a standard single lens light. I don’t really do much night riding and always suspected that the high and low beams were backwards and in the darkness, I found out that I was right.(It doesn't matter which way I wire it, its still backwards). The two little KC lights on the sidecar helped light the way in the corners but I couldn’t leave them on long either because the charging system sucks on the CB. On 762, I passed a Ural with a sidecar and we waved and tooted horns as we blasted by. I like the Ural and looks of it but my right wrist doesn’t like to cruise that slow.
   762 dropped me into Orient and I caught little 3 north to 665. I past my turn to the west and stopped at a little place to get water and a candy bar. I chugged the water and should have had more. The Snickers gave me a shot of energy and I finished the sandwich that I had started while gaping at the volleyball players. Some guys came over to ogle the bike and then it was back on and charging off into the dark to find London. Not London on the Thames and all that bloody rubbish but London in the middle of BFE Ohio. The GPS kept routing me further west towards Mechanicsville and kept yelling at me to turn around as I ignored her blatant pleas for acceptance. I found 38 N and blasted along with the throttle open and steady at 65. By now my helmet was sticking to my  three day stubble, my ear plugs itched and my fingers ached from clutching and braking. I wanted to be home without the work, hello teleporter!
   North of 29, Lucy, finally got the route right and I was able to count down miles and minutes to the home front. One last fill up in Marysville where I dumped the gallon of spare gas in the tank and topped it off with Marathon’s finest 93 octane. Then onto the house. In Mt. Victory, I stopped at the light and shut off the bike and let my arms drop and hang like giant weights from my shoulders. They ached but it was a great feeling. The one that only comes with riding at speed on a bike. The wife had the garage door open and the lights on waiting for me and twelve hours later, I was finally home.
   Anti-hero once theorized that it was the limbic brain and the stimulus that we received from riding a motorcycle that became our comfort and formed the bond between man and machine. My wife waved the BS flag and said, that’s just an excuse to ride your motorcycle more. One needs more excuses than the feeling of riding a motorcycle at speed? I can’t wait to go again, when do my new tires come in?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kelley's Island

We drove up early to Marblehead to catch the Kelley's Island Ferry. We parked in the lot and were the last ones to hop on. They even held the boat for us as we ran down the walkway.

As we pulled to the dock you could see the petroglyph  rock under the shelter.
We rented a golf cart and set out to see the island but first lunch at the Casio restaurant where we had a good view of the water. Patrick ordered a nacho with crab appetizer. It was much larger than we expected.
 All the food was fresh caught off the Gordon food truck. The crab was imitation and the prices were inflated but the margarita w/ Patron was loaded! Glad I wasn't driving.
 The wheelchair tires got a good workout being towed behind the cart.
Patrick took his turn driving and we found out that it was a $250 fine for letting him drive underage. Good thing he didn't caught.
Our next stop was the glacier grooves. The largest and best grooves in the world. There used to be more but they were tore up when they began quarrying stone on the island and this little section was all that was left.

 Looking out at the quarry. I don' think it sees much action anymore.

After looking at the grooves, we toured the island and Becky browsed in the little gift shops. It was a relaxing day driving around the roads, exploring and watching the water. It made me miss my old boat and the fun we had blasting around the lake on it.
We stopped for a good view of the petroglyph rock.

One of the carvings reminded me of an alien. Most of the carvings have been eroded away over time and are not very clear. A link for more information on Inscription rock.
We made our way back to the ferry dock, got cold drinks, some ice cream and then rode back to reality.

Perry's Monument on South Bass Island.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Camping at White Star Quarry

August 14 - 18 We drove up to White Star Quarry in Gibsonburg, Ohio. It is a favorite place for scuba diving and a Sandusky County park that offers swimming and many other activities.
Rick and Michelle Thomas were also camping and diving there so it was a good time us divers. Rick and I dove every day and the shortest dive we had was an hour long.
Rick waits while I don my single side mount tank.

Ready to dive!!

Friday night we went to Jason and Ruth Gahler's home in Weston for a family get together with Becky's bother, sisters and mom and dad. The boys took turns riding a 50 cc dirt bike and ATV, we ate good food and had a fire.
From the right going left, Ruth and Jason Gahler, Tom Ansley, Jonathon Ansley standing with his back turned and me in the custom lawn chair. 

Shawn and Kristi Campbell

Ethan and Wyatt get their Smores on.

Patrick works his skills at marshmallow roasting.

Tom and Sara Ansley

Patrick and I play war after a day of activity.

Saturday, they all came to White Star for an afternoon of swimming and then supper on the grill. The boys made pies in the pie irons over the fire we ended a good  night with well deserved rest. All in all it was a fun weekend of camping and diving.