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  • robertfarago1

Are We Having Fun Yet?



People compare motorcycling down a twisting road to riding a roller coaster. Nope. While the combination of G-forces is vaguely similar, modern roller coasters are to motorcycles what a single-engine Cessna is to an F-35.


Personally, I find next gen roller coasters as scary as a Samurai at a hemophiliacs’ convention. But the chances of a coaster KSI aren't worth considering. Misjudge one corner on a motorcycle at speed and you're toast. Speaking of which...


Monica AI reckons the average toaster operates between 310 to 350 degrees. I'm not saying Fritz and I have endured temperatures in that range, but the Bimmer's digital dash has been displaying 93+ degrees for days.


Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot


Make that hours. After hours. In a world subject to a humidity-adjusted "heat index" that makes me feel like a slice of multigrain moments after someone drops it in the slot, toaster-wise.


Which would be somewhat tolerable – or at least survivable – if I was guiding my maniacal mechanical monster down an interstate highway, where I could concentrate on not dying of heat prostration. Or at least keep the bike pointed in the right direction as I did.


Since leaving Austin 25 days ago, not once have I de-toggled Apple Maps' "Avoid Highways" option. I've been backroad bombing for 4k+ miles, through Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennesee and North Carolina,


Here in the Southern Appalachians, those roads twist and turn like the rattlesnake a California cult put in Paul Morantz's mailbox. The roads rise and fall like Bitcoin.


No Dogs Were Harmed in the Making of this Post



On the positive side, certain serpentine stretches have triggered moments of Zen-like clarity.


On the negative side, once the temp reaches the big Nine-Oh, my ability to navigate the turns takes a turn for the worse.


Make no mistake (literally): powering a nearasdammit thousand-pound German motorcycle around unfamilar corners requires a blend of skill, bravery, humility, paranoia and experience.


I have to balance physical and mental processing speed. An ability that degrades over time, both in years and, in the case of rapidly ascending roadgoing temps, minutes.


Adding to the danger: I suffer from the same getthereitis that put John F. Kennedy Junior in a tailspin.


The more uncomfortable I get, the more I'm willing to endure discomfort to get to a Hampden Inn to recover comfort.


How I Almost Screwed the Proverbial Pooch


I spent yesterday morning with my middle brother walking his [unmolested] canines, absorbing his yogic advice on the advantages of breathing.


Thanks to the preternatural preambulation and a distinct lack of entreaties to remain a houseguest, I left Asheville too late. And stayed on the bike too long.


At some point in the afternoon, heat-dazed-me pulled-up to a four-way intersection on a gorgeous curving road; an ancient Ford pickup approaching from the left.


I didn't fancy following farmer John for 30 miles. A rolling stop then. Hang on...


Scotty! I need more power! I'm trying Captain, but you're in the wrong gear!


Ah.


Fritz stalled. The sudden, power loss on a tilted road had Fritz staggering then leaning, make that capsizing, right.


I managed to plant my foot and wrench the handlebars back towards square just quickly enough to right the good ship BMW, fire-up Fritz's warp drive and continue on my adrenalin-charged way.


It was a close-run thing, that might not seem like much to experienced bikers. But it inspired me to pull off at the next available shady turnout and meditate on the wise words of Zen Master Clint Eastwood: a man's gotta know his limitations.


Fritz had a slightly different but equally salutatory piece of advice: "Vile it ist true zat ze Veebles vobble but zen don't fall down, motorcycles do both. Ven your cornering gets ragged? It'stime to shtop. Schatze."


A life lesson for sure. One that gave me pause when a friend asked me a simple question about my Ridiculously Random Motorcycle Tour: are you having fun?


'Til Her Daddy Takes the T-Bird Away



I'm really enjoying a large percentage of the motorcycling. I've met some interesting people. I'm getting tremendous pleasure from writing these posts. I don't regret embarking on this adventure, nor do I have the slightest desire to return to Austin.


All things considered, my non-NPR journey has been soul-satisfying. Not "fun."


After yesterday's ordeal, I know one of if not the main reasons: I'm pushing myself way too hard.


I'm not sure why. But I've taken on board my brother's recommendation to turn inwards. To focus on the eternal, rather than the ephemeral. To connect with my Atman, my innermost essence.


Wait. No. That's not it. I've realized that it's only a matter of time before fun appears. All I need do: continue wandering, watching and waiting.


The same friend making the happiness enquiry put the fun factor in a positive perspective:


"Don’t rush the trip. Do a chill ride while it’s hot. You can cover more ground during spring and fall."


Sitting atop Fritz, plowing through this devllish heat, I've had my patience tested. So far, I've tested negative. I guess you have to have a lot of patience to learn patience.


Meanwhile I'm determined to do – or not do – what's required to keep the shiny side up. Both internally and externally.


Remembering Thomas Fuller's admonition: "A stumble may prevent a fall." Hopefully, not this fall.


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9 Comments


Guest
Jun 25

test

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Guest
Jun 24

That sure is an awesome pup on that motorcycle!!! She is a heck of a riding buddy!!!

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Guest
Jun 24

"...preternatural preambulation and a distinct lack of entreaties.." Wow.

A nod is as good as a wink, RF.

Keep on rolling. Honk twice and hang loose.

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robertfarago1
Jun 25
Replying to

Too much?

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Dave Holzman
Dave Holzman
Jun 24

This latest one is one of the best. I'm really enjoying it. That line about JFK Jr. was superb.


"Adding to the danger: I suffer from the same getthereitis that put John F. Kennedy Junior in a tailspin."


I feel for JFK Jr. I think he married the wrong woman, and that it was she who put him in the state of getthereitis, that doomed the two of them, along with her sister, if I remember correctly. But then, caution genes run in my family. My parents put seat belts front and rear in the '57 Chevy in 1960 or '61. I had Bell hard-shelled bicycle helmet serial # 7022.


I'm going to give the URL who takes motorcycle trips…

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lynnwgardnerusa
Jun 24

The entire east coast was caught in a heat dome this weekend, it will pass. As others have suggested head North up through the Applichan core as July and August are right around the corner bringing their best and humid conditions. Ride safely…

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robertfarago1
Jun 24
Replying to

Resting in Knoxville. Going to do the whole Blue Ridge Parlway up to Virginia (469 miles, but not in one day). That’ll put me in the Appalachian mountains. As suggested. Thanks!

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