Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Bad Day Riding?

I've often wondered if there was ever a bad day riding. Yesterday, Saturday, April, 26 I found out and it will go down as a bad day riding.

I met up with a group I sometimes ride with for a ride to Mount Lemmon in Tucson. There we were meeting some more riders for a 28 mile, twisty, fun filled ride to the 9,000 foot elevation. The weather was perfect and I met three new people who were terrific. So, off we go at the appointed time. Traffic was a bit congested leaving the city, but running a traffic break got us all into the HOV lane with clear sailing. Out of town and turning onto State Route 79 we headed to Florence. Well past Florence is where the ride took a turn. One of our riders forgot the rule of filling up before leaving on a ride. The dreaded dry tank in the middle of no where. Two of us left them in search of gas and a can. MsHog made a call to the folks in Tucson we were meeting to tell them we would be delayed and they were cool with it. We finally made Tucson about an hour, or so, late.

Laura took her ribbing, in Tucson, in good nature and was her jovial self. Truth is if the worst thing she ever does is run out of gas she will get to heaven. Remember good girls go to heaven, bad girls get to go everywhere, Plus the group will be able to make fun of her for months now and luckily for the rest of us we won't soon forget to gas up.

So, we leave the Safeway parking lot to head to a Safeway parking lot down the road. It seems we need to stop to get lunch for a picnic at the top of Mount Lemmon. Well, along the way this group of twenty to thirty motorcycles becomes invisible. Mr. Cage Man, driving in the center lane, passes half of the bikes in the line, wakes up, realizes this is his turn, and turns. Right through the line of bikes. You can't make this stuff up folks. Stupidity is alive and well in the heads of some cagers. The unlikely victim of this action was Laura. Yep, Laura of running out of gas fame. The chances of that happening to the same person in the space of two hours is enormous.

Somehow Mr. Cager only managed to take out one of the group, which is a good thing. Laura has some road rash, but nothing is broken, which is a good thing. We made the bike rideable, which is a good thing. Laura was wearing a helmet, which was a very, very good thing because there was visual evidence of what would have happened to her head and face. After all the checking out process Laura refused to be fender fluff and have someone else ride her bike home. She rode it back to Phoenix, which is a good thing.

We didn't get to Mount Lemmon, which is a bad thing. Mr. Cager's excuse for his stupidity was, "I needed to turn here," which is a bad thing. Wait, that might be a good thing because at least he didn't claim he didn't see the thirty bikes.

Seeing one of your own laying in the street bleeding, bike twisted is a really bad feeling. Your heart jumps into your throat and you can't get stopped and to them fast enough. Standing around after the fact talking and analyzing what just happened has the possibility to make folks nuts. Reflecting on the events on the way home and this morning Laura was a victim and I can't see anything she could have done to prevent this from happening. Riding in a group, at or under the speed limit, safety gear on, curb lane, sunny day, a person would assume they were safe.

Maybe, just maybe, the entire group was at fault for the accident. Maybe there was an implied assumption that group riding is safe and we, as a collective group, let our guard down. There are more stupid cagers on the road than smart motorcyclists. I need to decide if we became stupid motorcyclist because we were safely riding in a group.

So, it was a bad day riding. Not because we didn't make our planned destination, I have that happen all the time. It was a bad day because one of our group went down and I'm thinking somehow the entire group played a part. Awareness of this issue will make me a better rider in the group next time.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Completely Wireless

After the Spring Break ride and the problems with not being able to connect to the Internet and therefore not being able to post to my blog, I decided to do something about it. I did some checking and found AT&T, my cell provider, had wireless Internet that covers almost the entire US. For only fourteen dollars more that I was paying for cable high speed. So, I got this little jewel.

Just plug it in, click on a desktop icon, and I'm connected. It is just a tad slower than cable, but I'm not locked to the back bedroom any longer. It also works better at school than at home. I still need to take it on the road and give it a try. While I was upgrading I got a new HP dv9700T 17" laptop with Vista.

It is a bit different than windows XP, but they are phasing XP out. The big difference I see is the security advances that require an acknowledgment that you really want to preform a task. Not really that big a deal for me. The bloat ware that came on it was time consuming to remove and no instruction manuals, for anything, are my only complaints. I ordered it with a fingerprint reader for signing in to the computer and all of my accounts. That is a sweet option and worth the cost of the computer.

Historical Boston

Well, the Arizona Harley Dude made his way to Boston compliments of the school district. Myself and six others from my school attended the National Science Conference in Boston the end of March. I learned some good things at the conference and ate some great seafood, but the best part of the experience was walking the Freedom Trail and seeing, for the first time, where the history of this great country started.

This is Paul Revere's house and his grave. Four of us walked this Trail on a cold, wet day that tested all of our resolve to feel the history we all read about.

After five hours of walking, and freezing, we found ourselves at Bunker Hill. This monument is twenty stories tall and has 294 steps to the top. The first 200 were easy the last 94 just about kicked my butt. But, then I had to go back down and that did kick my butt. After getting back to the bottom I sat down and could hardly walk after standing up again. I was sore for a week.

This was the first time in my life I ever rode on a subway. I guess that I have lived a sheltered life. It was great fun. Even the part of jumping on the wrong train and having to ride to the end of the line to go the right way.

I did also learn that the folks in Boston were a very friendly group. On several occasions they stopped and asked what we were looking for and sent us in the correct direction. I guess they could tell we were tourists. It was an experience that I won't soon forget.