Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It Was How Cold?

An important part of motorcycling is being comfortable. As in dressing for the conditions. Living in Arizona there are only about three months when we even have to think about anything other than "God it's hot!!"

But, on occasion, like last Sunday, when riding into a possible 27 degrees having on the proper attire can make the difference between an enjoyable outing and just surviving. That little thing called Wind Chill Factor gives riders an idea of what they are really in for.

WCF is a complicated formula to tell what the temperature will feel like with the wind blowing on you. The National Weather Service has a chart on their web site that takes the guessing and math out of the equation for speeds up to 60 MPH.

So the next time you take off when it is only 40 degrees and you might not be home before dark, remember it will feel like 25 if you hold it to 60 MPH and will get colder on the return trip.

I will ride to school when we go back with early morning temperatures in the mid 30's giving WCFs of 19 or so. It might be a bit chilly, but I'll be smiling knowing those 100+ degree days aren't very far away. I'm not sure why, but the cold takes more energy from me than the heat does. Cast your vote to which you would rather ride in.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Winter Ride

Ahhhhhhhhhhh winter is here in Arizona. Sunday, December 28 and it was a pleasant 35 degrees, sunny, and a promised high of 58. Perfect for a short jaunt down to Oracle, Arizona to try out a small little Mexican restaurant named Casa Rivera. Met up at Ms Hogs pen with Shawn and Roy and off we went in search of two riders meeting us out on the turnoff to Florence. The riding was great, if not a bit chilly, with a bright sun lit sky and a small cross wind.

The mostly uneventful ride took us South on Arizona 79 up to about the 5580 foot elevation near Black Mountain. Uneventful until a cage pulled out to pass just as he topped a hill and there were five motorcycles running at him about 300 yards away. Must have been in a hurry.....to slam on the brakes and make a very quick right. Wasn't even close for me as I was in my usual position for a group ride which is at the tail end. When we turned off of 79 onto 77 we saw some funny white powder covering the ground. Those back east might not recognise it as snow, but here it makes little kids' hearts race and normal adults get crazy.

On the left is Louise, standing in the snow, outside Casa Rivera and on the right is Casa Rivera. Did I mention it was a small restaurant? But, it was also busy and people continued to show up and wait to get a seat. Six folks from Tuscon rode up to meet us there and it was a really good lunch.

After eating, visiting, and gassing up, we headed back toward Phoenix with all the Tucson bikers. The plan was to stop at the Tom Mix Memorial and then each group going on their way. Tom Mix was a famous cowboy actor from the silent movie days. I've seen this memorial on many occasions, but never really knew anything about him until today. A six million dollar man in the 1920s to 40s, a military deserter, and a circus performer added to his colorful life. He was killed in a wreck about a half mile south of the rest stop.

This nice 280 mile ride and home in time to watch the conclusion of the Arizona Cardinals game ending the season 9-7. Atlanta comes to town next Saturday at 11-5. The Cards might not have a prayer, but they made the playoffs and anything could happen. Sad that they play in a dome out here and those in the cold country won't see our great early January weather. But, maybe they will open the top for this game. That is if the temperature gets up to 55 or so. Arizona weather......just awful.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas To All

May your Holiday Season be filled with joy, smiles, love, and Santa taking care of all your little elves. Then, hopefully, Santa will deliver an early thaw so that riding may resume.

Happy New Year to all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tis The Season

The cool weather has enveloped the desert, the colorful lights are twinkling on the neighborhood houses, the traffic has increased and the drivers are impatient. That can only mean it is approaching the holiday season. Better known, to those like me that aren't politically correct, as Christmas and Christmas means it is time to think about Toy Runs. This past weekend I cleared my schedule and attended my first of the year.

This particular run was the 36th Annual Kicks 4 Kids Motorcycle Toy Run sponsored by the Star of Phoenix Chapter #113, Fraternal Order of Police, and the Army Reserve NCO Council. This is the longest running toy run in Arizona and the support is outstanding. The economy did affect this ride as it was supposed to be an escorted ride by Phoenix PD and the Arizona Highway Patrol, but due to budget issues there was no escort. The problem was they only let 30 or so bikes out at a time and we had to stop at the lights. We were in the third group out and once out on I17 South it got a bit interesting. Watching out ahead there were many brake lights and cars swerving from lane to lane dodging each other. A small group of us changed over to the HOV lane and continued. Then we saw the problem. The lead group of riders were traveling about 35 miles an hour down the freeway. That seemed to me to be inviting disaster and explained the cars braking and swerving.

The left picture is the staging area and the right is arriving at the drop off area. As you see the weather was overcast and there was a possibility of showers. But, you couldn't let a small thing like showers keep from helping out the children.

My grand daughter loves 'babies' so when choosing what gift to buy I had to get a baby in honor of her. If it makes her that happy I am hoping that other little girls will be as thrilled.

These were two of the really cool rides that were at the ride.

This was the most noteworthy paint job I saw on the ride. It was outstanding in the detail and looks.

After dropping off the toys we headed to Mesa for breakfast where we sat out on the patio. There was no sense letting all that leather go to waste.

After breakfast we headed out to Saguaro Lake just for the ride. While it was chilly, the sun did sneak out for a bit and it felt really good. All in all this was a very nice day to ride. It was cold by Arizona standards and if the sun would have shown itself more I would have been happier. But, at least Petunia doesn't have to be covered in the garage because of that funny white stuff that our friends back east are looking at.

I guess I'll just have to ride a few miles next weekend in their honor.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What is an Epic Ride?

The Alaska ride was 40 some years in the making. It was the best ride I have ever been on and I don't get tired of telling about it. But, that ride is in the past and now it is time to look to the future. The word epic comes to mind. I want to complete an Epic Ride. One that makes a statement about who I am and what I think about riding a motorcycle.

Epic is a simple word that could have grandiose implications.
Dictionary.com describes epic as follows;

ep⋅ic   /ˈɛpɪk/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ep-ik] Show IPA Pronunciation –adjective Also, ep⋅i⋅cal.
1. noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style: Homer's Iliad is an epic poem.
2. resembling or suggesting such poetry: an epic novel on the founding of the country.
3. heroic; majestic; impressively great: the epic events of the war.
4. of unusually great size or extent: a crime wave of epic proportions.

5. an epic poem.
6. epic poetry.
7. any composition resembling an epic.
8. something worthy to form the subject of an epic: The defense of the Alamo is an American epic.
9. (initial capital letter) Also called Old Ionic. the Greek dialect represented in the Iliad and the Odyssey, apparently Aeolic modified by Ionic.

1580–90; < L epicus < Gk epikós. See epos, -ic

How many miles does it take to qualify as an Epic Ride? BB over at BB's Road Trip just posted about hitting her first 1000 miles as a rider. Something she never planned to do, but it is now in her blood. How many of you remember your first 1000 miles? I know I don't and never considered it be significant at the time. What the Hell does a seventeen year old know anyway? However, reading BB's post
I have started to think about and begun to plan a ride of Epic proportions. Summer vacation is only seven months away and finding the perfect route to complete a ride of this magnitude will take some research and careful planning. The only thing I know for sure at this point is that it will have mostly two lane highways and the Interstate will be on an as needed basis only. Summer vacation lasts from June 6 until August 13, for a total of 68 days. My initial thought is to spend around 55 days out seeing this great country and where the road takes me.

Chime in and give your thoughts about what you consider a ride of epic proportions. Where would your road lead?