Back after extended Absence

When I moved my sites from godaddy to host gator a good few years ago I was swamped, so I didn’t take the time to work out how my content would move.

Despite my severe lack of planning I had DB backups form the old site, and apart from a few table structure changes things went well (I am looking at you wp_links).

When I did raw imports my site would go blank, but with a bit of care and lining up DDLs and inserting one table at a time, here we are.

 

Skin has changed, some pieces are jaunty (may have been originally as I was posting after long days in the saddle) but we are back (and also backing up XML now) 🙂

 

Of course the whole idea of moving to host gator was so I could host multiple sites with less hosting costs, now that I have this working I wonder if I should ship it over to my cloudatcost site 🙂

Brian

Trip_Home

I have done a very bad job of keeping the old Blog-a-roo updated on this trip. The rally itself was quite wonderful, caught up with the BMWBMW people for a little bit, but ended up spending most of my time hanging out at with the dozen or so people that were my tent buddies.

Plenty of meat, plenty of laughs, and of course a beer or two.

Yesterday I hopped on the road to Atlanta and am visiting with the Swiss Family Dougherty, they are becoming a tradition it would seem for my BMW MOA Rallies.

Tomorrow I will start the ride home, I am thinking right now I will take my time, split it over two days, it is about 700 miles or about 12 ½ hours. I plan to make a few stops on the way, I will go run the “Tail of the Dragon”, maybe go see Dublin VA and then make the burn for home.
Per Sybase Ron, I am going to spin by Crockett Tavern and see if I can learn about Davy Crockett. The forecast is for lots of rain,

It is about time to turn in now, hopefully I stay dry for a few hours tomorrow, and I look forward to returning to normal life.

Brian

Getting ready to leave


Today seems to be my most ilconvinced loading to date, the problem is since its just 400 miles to ride today I did not focus on business. So I ended up with all the heavy stuff on one side of the machine, I expect to be pretty sore by the time I get to TN but I am not ready to change it all now.

I also felt that since people would be coming a lot of miles to get to the rally I would bring a lot more tools that usual to try and help people out, it was only at the last minute that I pulled out a monster hammer, so we will see how it goes.

This should be the last outing for my trusty tent, it is a fantastic tent, but three years old and much too big for motorcycle camping.

I will check in from Johnson city, at just 1300 miles this trip is really a short one, so I hope to get some nice milage in the smokey mountains when down that way.

Brian

The boys arriving back 2 Pops Brian da Bro


It is almost time to take off on my next little trip. The milage on this one barely merits talking about, but I am still looking forward to some quiet time inside my helmet.

I feel much better prepared then for some of my other trips, its 4am, I think I am done with all my work stuff, and I replaced the last few brake pads on the machine. When I did the others a few weeks ago I left some undone incase I messed up, I would still be able to stop.

OK, I know very boring post, just trying to get someone committed to ‘paper’

Brian

A week post trip

I am back a week now, still a little sore but nothing compared to 2007, no real snags on this trip, lots of great people, lots of time just alone in my helmet, I should do this more often.

Below is a summary map of the major stops, looking back on this scale it seems like a big trip again, funny how looking at each day doesn’t seem like that much.

Huge thanks to all who gave me the pleasure of their company on this trip, it will be a long time before I forget this.

View Larger Map

Day 15 – Coming home

Waking up this morning just 475 miles from home, I knew today was going to be the end of this trip. Much of the morning was spent trying to come up with some meaning to tie this whole thing together. All along this trip, as well as the previous one people have asked me why I do these sort of trips.
I know there are a number of elements to this answer, a big one which I would rather not admit to of course is the ego factor, I know its hard, I am pretty sure I can do it, I have a good threshold for discomfort and an stubborn ability to stick with something long past it making sense.

A huge piece of course is getting in touch with where you are, for example if you are driving somewhere, and a sprinkle of rain hits, even if a convertible it is not a big deal. On a bike if you climb or descend a few thousand feet and consequently the temperature changes, if like me you choose not to use heated clothing then this becomes an issue, you need to find somewhere safe to pull off, or ride the next few hours in a degree of discomfort. Normally I can feel rain coming a few miles before I get to it, when your head gets shoved around a lot more, also if you are behind a semi/articulated truck/18 wheeler the buffeting increases greatly. Next you start to feel water droplets form on your leading edges e.g. knuckles, and eventually rain begins.
With the smaller tank I am stopping for fuel about every 150 miles, this forces you to more gradually see the countryside change between fuel stops and being a loan rider just invites people to come tell you their story.
When out in the flats you spend most of the day leaning to keep the bike upright against the wind, but whenever you overtake a vehicle that creates a hole in the wind, and depending on which side the vehicle is relative to the wind direction sets the 5 feet the machine will lurch once you get into that hole.
There is also great solitude in the helmet, whatever you setup when you pull out is all you have until you stop again, your iPod may be in your breast pocket, but if you don’t have your plugs into it when you leave there is no way to set that up at cruising speed with glove on. Once locked in your helmet all you have is yourself, and you need to keep focus on the road ahead, this is why people call biking the “poor mans meditation” as without knowing any mantra you are forced into a similar mindset.
Of course one of the true joys is the lack of cell phone within your helmet, as with the heated clothing, you can use technology now to get you past this restriction, but right now I choose not to do that.

I then realized a very substantial piece is getting in touch with your machine. Without a large pane of glass to view the world through, it is much more difficult to gauge speed. By about day three on a trip I am no longer looking at my instruments for this information, I can feel the engine RPM’s of my delicate Bavarian boxer engine vibrating through my boots, and also tell speed by the wind-noise. I have also realized I need to up-shift/down-shift without looking at the tachometer or hearing the engine, based on the wind and my feet vibrations not matching.

Final_Mileage

Winding into the mountains of West Virginia from Charleston I was still trying to work out my answer, while trying to work this out I was overtaking a large vehicle and I was fighting with the cross winds banked over at about 30 degrees while climbing. Instinctively I rolled the throttle open about another 1/40th of a turn, the engine pitch dropped as it worked harder, I instantly felt the flex in the swingarm under the twisting forces, I felt the bike dig down as the Metzler Z6 on the back grabbed a more firm grip of the road 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81 and as I cleared the front of the truck I noticed my feet shift ever so slightly on the pegs so my weight was moved from taking me through the right banking turn and I was balanced to pull me into the left banking turn and I finally understood what the trip is about..

day_15_home

Day 14 – Part 2


After my four hours sleep I feel much better and like I can write something of value instead of last nights placeholder. It looks like I am about 475 Miles approx 7 ½ hours from home. This is of course bitter sweet, it will be really nice to be home, but I will of course miss the miss the road, and I will miss the isolation in many ways. There are few things like tranquility of 12 hours within your helmet with no interruption.

I did ride further then I planned last night, my intention was only to go as far as Lexington, but once I got there all the hotels were taken, so I rode about another 60 miles. This was not pleasant at the time, as I was approaching Lexington near 2am, and Louisville around 1am traffic was erratic, I can never tell if the Friday night kids playing in their fathers cars, drunks driving, a full moon or what is happening. Probably a component of all three.

I did get to meet a character named Jose at a gas station yesterday, he started telling me about his bike, a Gixer, and when he asked how long I had been riding and when I told him he almost fell over. He then said I would likely walk like I had been raped at the end of the trip, as he had done after three days riding horses in Mexico. He also mentioned that he was going to have to learn to keep it in his pants, as hid kids are scattered all over the place now, and it is getting expensive to go see them. Finally we discussed problems with fhis transmission, and if it were not under warrantee, he would have done a Mexican repair, and just downgraded it to two wheel drive. All in all, he was a lot of fun.

I did notice in the past that after you go a certain amount to the west, the high test fuel drops from 93 Octane to 91 Octane I seem to recall when I was in the middle of nowhere last year that it dropped even lower. The breaking point on the return this year was just past St. Louis. If anyone knows why that happens, please let me know 🙂

It seems to me like it is time to load up the Bapper one last time, and burn out the 750 miles to home.

Take Care

Brian

Day 13 – Back on the road

 

 

Today was a nice day of hard grind, long miles in high temperatures. The addition of Auntie NoNo, to the trip amounts to what I guess is about a 300 mile diversion; of course most of it is off the highway, so they are a slow couple of miles. That said I am really happy I got down to see her, if not for running parallel to a cop and a lot of roadworks today I would have gotten in much earlier, but I got here none the less.

Auntie NoNo is in fine form, and I got to meet her puppies which are named after Jane Austin characters, but that apparently does not make her weird 🙂

Auntie_NoNo_Dogs

As I am just 1200 miles or so from home now and today I did a bit over 800 miles I am wondering if I should go with the plan of a three easy days of 400 miles a piece, or if I think I can notch it up and do two 600+mile days. 1500 miles in two days is enough to qualify for the Iron Butt Bun Burner award, so that would lead to me to believe it is not easy 🙂

Anyway, to some quick ramblings from today, carrying on from yesterdays comments about billboards, today I did not see too many, but I did note the number of anti-abortion non-commercial billboards once I got into Kansas, they continue until I got here. Also I noted around Tulsa a big US Army recruiting poster, it had a guy in full uniform with the tagline “are you tough enough”, quite a bit from the invoking of pride to become a Marine.

View_in_Kansas

I have also come to think that you can judge a lot about a state based on its rest areas, Iowa had full time staff keeping them clean, as well as free WiFi. Kansas on the other hand many toilets with no stall doors, and those that had them were without locks. Please draw your own conclusions.

As I have come back East I also have noted the reduction in large freight trains, I measued some of the trains I saw in the past few days, on average they were about 1.1 Miles long and were jammed with coal.

I really did seem to be all business today, I had planned on hitting the Atomic Canon, but when the time came, I elected to keep rolling.

In general I found Colorado to be a truly beautiful state, imagine my surprise when today it turned ugly, I was wondering how all was so brown and five minutes later I saw the “Welcome to Kansas sign” I guess it is not easy being a state in the Midwest.

Despite hitting snooze a good few tiemes this morning as when my alarm went off I knew I could not pull off the 13 hours of riding today, so I am off to get some sleep; this will help make me strong tomorrow as well as help me recover from last night.

Brian
day 13 - Denver to Fayetville

Day 12 – So long Denver


Since I started loading up the Bapper for the final big push across the country, I have felt less and less as if I am on vacation, it is time to go home. Arlington has felt more like home each year I have lived there, and I suspect this next 12 months will really cement that in my mind.

I did make it to the very wonderful Casa Bonita today, it was all that SouthPark talked it up to be, I can see why Cartman tried to convince Butters that the world had come to an end, so he could go there.
All had told me the food there is really bad and to instead just get a drink, the management there have a strong way to work around this, rather then address the quality of the food, they just set a rule that you have to order a meal before you get into the dining room were all the action is.
I also had the chance to check out the Coors brewery (from the street) as well as the final resting place of Alfred Packer, a key for all Cannibal and musical fans. Finally I got some nice riding time in the mountains, unfortunately as it was dark and stormy I did not get as nice a view of the Rockies as I had hoped for, but there was some wonderful riding.

On the bike front my little tire pressure monitoring devices (firefly’s) had started chirping around the time I got to Denver, when I checked the pressure both tires were in the 20’s instead of 38 and 42, so that is sorted now. I also took this as a warning and purchased a real flat repair kit, in addition to a pump that will run off the bike accessory socket. Hopefully that is a waste of $150 and I never have to look at a tire again.

It is sad saying goodbye to my wonderful hosts Justin and Emily, after being here for three days it still seems too soon to go. But the road is calling my name, and I have to eat up 800 miles tomorrow, so I will finish loading up, put my laundry in the drier and try and get some sleep prior to tomorrows 4am start..
My time in Denver has easily 10x my booze intake for this trip, not to mention 10x my bad food intake, so from that standpoint it will be nice to get back on the road.

Riding today gave me a chance to do some thinking, looking at the billboards I think you can really tell what advertisers think of people in different parts of this huge and diverse country. In Michigan I saw signs of impeccably dressed marines with swords calling on pride to join the few, the proud. In Gillette Wyoming I saw a billboard of a woman with a blackened eye, and lots of writing in English saying that being abused by yours spouse is not acceptable. Oddly however the board also had written on it in Spanish, “We speak Spanish”. Without the context of the rest of the board, I wonder how a non English speaker would interpret the image and the fact that they speak Spanish.

Anyway, I am tired, and am hoping for at least one REM cycle before tomorrow.

Be safe

Brian