I went on a little motorcycle adventure a few weeks ago and over all I had a great time. Rode some roads that were new, visited some old roads that were as great as ever and saw lots of beautiful scenery.
I did a fair amount of planning that you might recall, and the trip went great.
Well it was great except for one little thing. The massive anxiety attack I had at around 11AM on the first day. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. Certainly not when riding. I’m normally pretty calm and take things in stride, or at least I take things in stride even if I’m not remaining perfectly calm. This however was completely different. It started just as I got to 101 after riding what over all was a slightly disappointing Skaggs Rd.
Even though parts of it were beautiful, Skaggs Rd. just wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be.
I began to worry that I had planned too many miles and I was going to set up camp in the dark. I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to get all the roads I wanted to ride in. Or that I would be tired and crash.
It was shocking how worried I was getting, thinking about turning back, tightness in my chest. The last time I was this upset on a motorcycle was on my slog down Highway 97 to Klamath Falls. Even this was slightly different and I’ve never experienced anything like it that I can recall.
Eventually I took a break in Willits and called my wife. Talking to her always helps me get out of my head and back into reality. I also took some time after I was done talking to her to look over my route and confirm that I easily had enough time to do the trip.
Looking back I think I needed to go over everything the night before. Double checking the route and times so I don’t second guess myself and literally psych myself out. It certainly was a very unpleasant hour and a half on the motorcycle, one that would not care to repeat.
I’ve never bothered changing the oil on my Ducati Monster. With service intervals of 6000 and now 7500 miles it seemed a little crazy to do it more often than that.
However, my brother owns a proper Japanese bike with 12k service intervals which means changing the oil halfway at every 6000 miles isn’t too crazy and since I have a garage it’s not even that hard.
Made even easier on an SV650 for which there are about a million how to websites, forum posts and youtube videos.
I used one at Everyday Riding, it made the job super easy. Even though I forgot to make sure I had the right tool to get the old oil filter off.
All in all the job was a fun way to spend a half hour or so in the garage hanging out with my brother.
I like riding new roads, and Butler Maps is a great way to find them. I’m always hoping to find another dreamy piece of road. Ideally perfectly paved with no traffic.
So when looking for some different alternatives to get home from Patrick’s Point State Park I was pretty excited to find this:
Looks pretty good and some of it was highlighted with yellow by the Butler Maps Guys.
While I realize that different people find different roads more pleasurable than others, I struggle to find what someone liked about this road. It was a bumpy, pot hole infested gravely mess, often times all three at the same time. The only thing I can say nice about this road was that there were some nice views.
Those views however, don’t make up for the road’s pure unfun it was to ride. I spent nearly the entire time wishing I could go faster so it would be over sooner.
Luckily I made it without major incident. I did loose a rubber mount for my Ram cellphone grip with all the shaking, and no damage was done the few times I bottomed out and scrapped my exhaust on the potholes and bumps. Oh and no teeth were broken with all the rattling…
Panorama taken from Zenia Bluff Rd.
There was some amazing scenery. The picture barely does it justice, even when made as big as possible.
Thanks to the encouragement and helpful suggestions from a reader I decided to give my rear turn signal another look.
I started with taking out the bulb and looking for any grime or corrosion that would prevent it from getting a good contact. Not seeing any I began to trace the line back to the tail light. Not seeing anything there I turned the blinker on looking for some sort of bad connection, and when moving the bundle of wire that go from the signal to the tail light it flashed, just once.
Well I knew where to start looking.
I started by taking apart the turn signal, thinking I was going to have to remove the whole assembly when I found my problem.
This connector had pulled off and must have been just close enough to touch when I wiggled the wire.
It took a lot of doing but eventually I got everything back together and working, the wire did not have much slack, and was a pain to reattach.
So I’m back to having a working right turn signal! (though I still had my integrated one the whole time hence my slight lack of pressing need to fix it)
I leave in just a few days and I’m still looking to get everything sorted out. I’m not too worried about anything in particular, just lots of little things that if I don’t get to could add up to nothing good.
The To Do List:
- A final check of the motorcycle, chain, tires and oil are my primary concerns, but a general look over will be done too.
- Figure out my gas stops. When getting off the beaten path knowing where your fuel stops are is important and allows me to enjoy the ride more.
- Know when I’m eating and to buy snacks for the road.
- I would really like to make a new music playlist for the trip. I have several playlists I’ve used for other road trips but it’s nice to mix it up with new stuff.
Luckily I have already gotten the routes figured out. The toughest part of this was trying to make sure I could get in all the roads I want in the hours of daylight I have available. Setting up a camp in the dark would not be ideal.
Here’s a rough Day One:
This is about 10 hours of riding, with 11.5 hours of daylight. I plan on heading out at 6AM so that gives me 2.5 hours of spare light to take breaks and set up camp. Not perfect, but doable I think.
The Return Trip went through a lot more changes than the day one above.
Mostly because the original was way to ambitious. This is more sane even though the slog down 101 might be a bit much to stomach. I did add a road I’ve never ridden up north which I am particularly excited about.
Six years, ten screws and one plate later and this day continues to be infamous with me.
The good news is that for the first time on this day I am better than I have been before. I am able to ride, run, walk and dance with no leg pain is pretty awesome.
With this being the first year since that crash that I’ve been able to do those things I’m trying to put it all behind me. While I like to look back and reflect, it’s more exciting to look forward. I’m sure there will be many more adventures on two wheels.