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Helen Rosales
Helen Rosales for State Senate 20th Legislative District

scientology sucks.

Visit Operation Clambake!

Ladytron seems like a neat group

Should I buy a Korean bike?
I need to get a replacement bike because driving is just no good. I'd love to just get the exact same bike I had, a 2001 Suzuki SV650, but there's a new generation. The new one is fuel injected, uglier, has a digital speedometer and is only available in the yucky colors shown here and the frame is black.

Somewhat more enticing is the Korean knock-off, the Hyosung GT650 Comet. Check out that tagline: Civil Riding Position, Heart and Soul of A sport Bike (sic). It's a grand cheaper than a new SV650, has a two-year warranty, and it quite comparable from all I've read.

But the bonus to me is being a pioneer in the new field of foreign vehicles. I mean who didn't want to be the first American driving tweedy English sports cars in the '40s, or one of those laughable French or Italian econoboxes in the '50s? Heck, in the '70s a Honda CVCC was an iconoclastic vehicle. The opportunity to be the guinea pig for an unknown entity is so enticing. I imagine I'd get polarized responses from other cyclists, either "Cool, what is that?" or "What a turd!" I really need to investigate part availability, and the nearest dealer is two hours away, but think how low the theft-appeal would be!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006
I rode my bike to work Monday and Tuesday, so today it was the car's turn to get exercised. As I pulled into my parking space tonight, I noticed that my bike was NOT WHERE IT SHOULD BE! In fact, it was nowhere to be seen at all. I called the towing company that yanks unauthorized vehicles, but they didn't have it. I did a lap and made sure that I didn't have amnesia and park it someplace else. Well, there's no sign of nothing. Police report filed. Hopefully she turns up. I mean I just paid $150 to have some gorgeous perforated seating material put on. And I just washed the bike two weeks ago, then installed those Suburban Machinery clubman handlebars. I guess she looked too tempting after the sprucing up. Well, according to the five-oh, it should turn up after it runs out of gas. Or is crashed. Hopefully the former, but it's armed with frame sliders...

Tuesday, June 6, 2006
The odometer on my bike hit 48K today.

Various embarrassing photos of me that have turned up in cyberspace since I've been away:

How did my bike get parked here?

Resting my eyes.

Why did so many people find this photo-worthy?

I'm scratching my nose

Sitting on a motorcycle doesn't always make you look cool.

Anyone watching Revelations?
Last night's episode was a bit weird. The head Satanist guy masterminds a prison breakout, and then somehow gets a tape of himself urging prisoners worldwide to do the same and it is aired uncut on the news. Admittedly most prisoners were probably watching Cinemax instead of the evening news, but I still think it's a tad irresponsible to show a successful criminal encouraging riots. I mean we won't air the Osama bin Laden tapes because we're worried that he might be blinking in Morse code to his terror cells. Obviously there needs to be a prison cable system similar to the airport CNN (which never airs plane crash news, as it's kind of bad for business).

RIT Mini-Baja trip
Rode up to assist my alma mater, Rochester Institute of Technology in their hosting of the 2005 Society of Automotive Engineers Mini-Baja East competition. I was on the team in college, designing, building and breaking a single-seater offroad car.

It was a 330 mile ride, just like Mapquest and Google Maps promised. Took six hours of highway, two gas stops each way. Best news is that I did not receive a single traffic violation (mainly because I kept a steady conservative pace) despite rolling down the mountain to see a trooper cruiser while unwittingly going about 20mph over.

Actually the best news is that I made it home without my clutch cable totally breaking. I noticed once that the lever felt tight, but then it suddenly loosened up and soon thereafter needed adjustment. Turns out that I was feeling strands of the cable snapping. About 3/4 of them were broken through. I had a spare cable on me, but knew that I'd need to get an 8mm deep socket in order to remove the clutch cover. Swapped it out at home on Monday and realized that I don't remember lubricating the cable since it was installed. And it was installed by a shop, as I was feeling lazy, so it may have been bone dry it's entire short life. I really need to pay more attention to maintenance, but it is complicated when the maintenance chart ends at 18,000 miles and you've got 39K on the clock. Oh, that's divisible by 3K, so I'm late for an oil change.

Including two round trips to the motocross track in Palmyra, the whole 5 day weekend came out to 880 miles and netted four free t-shirts, one free baseball cap, eight free meals, a keychain and some stickers. I love swag.

The internet is over
This is for my father, who has this bizarre aspiration of having a hard copy archiving the entire internet. Now you can just skip to the last page.

How The O.C. is written
The writers agree on two or three dramatic clips they can show in the preview, then they go out of there way to incorporate these scenes in the most boring, irrelevant and inconsequential way possible, ensuring that the plot makes only the smallest of strides.

The Apprentice is just an hour long ad.
Survivor was shameless enough with it's product placement as contest rewards, but The Apprentice takes it to a whole new level. Each week, the show focuses on 'creating' an ad campaign for some product. In fact each week, the show is an ad campaign for the product. And Trump is an ass too. Why is this a highly rated show?

Have I mentioned lately that lanesplitting is great?
Because it is. Due to poor sleep habits, I've left for work half an hour late two days in a row. I arrived at work less than thirty minutes late by taking the New Jersey Turnpike. Normally I avoid this road because it is a straight line, a toll road, and most importantly is a parking lot at the bridge. But anyone swift enough to commute by motorcycle gets the joy of buzzing past idling Porsches that are stuck in traffic. Fun and challenging: negotiating the narrow, ever-changing corridor between slowly moving vehicles is as engaging and stimulating as going into a corner too fast, being forced to hold on and leaning over more than than ever before. Oh, and it saves time and gas too.

Hooray for some NJ motorcyclists
Yes, I'd like to believe it is from following my example, but regardless I am seeing way more motorcycles out in less-than-ideal weather this year. Yesterday morning had temperatures in the 40's and I see two separate sportbikes in Jersey City. Similar weather today and I see a Ninja on Route 22. Kudos for not being fairweather primadonnas!

I'm not the only one
OK, in truth I haven't ridden my poor bike in a week and a half (because of snow and/or a frozen battery)and it is a sad state of affairs. I hope to be in the saddle soon, as are these riders shown in various states of frigidity throughout the garden state.

On cold-weather transportation
People just don't understand when I tell them I'm more comfortable commuting by bike in the winter.

Bike: spend a minute suiting up, a few for bike to warm up, flick on the heated grips and plug in the vest and you're off. Unless there's ice in the ignition keyhole , and you might need to rub a finger on the mirrors to defrost them. Lanesplit all you want. Park anywhere you like. Remove gear and have a hot drink.

Car: Run out to car in the cold like a ninny. Start car. Turn on defroster. Brush frost off window. Use wipers to get the rest off (or use the washers and hope it doesn't ice up on the window) Place hands on ice cold steering wheel (heat sink) and drive around for five minutes till you feel the heater working, another five till the inside temp is something tolerable. Plod along a slow-moving truck that the car is too big and too slow to pass. Hit that pothole you can't steer around. Constantly try to keep windshield clear of salty roadspray without leaving streaks. Arrive and run from car to building door in the cold.

Happy New Year (except for those pansies who don't ride in the winter)!
Lots of so-called motorcyclists pack their bike away at a certain date, or when the mercury drops a little. They forego all the joys of riding because they either think it is dangerous or inconvenient to do so in non-ideal weather. Screw that, New Year's Day was quite ideal. Temperatures in the 60's. Look at all these great riders from TSSB that showed up, proving that a little salt on the roads hurts nobody. Ride all the time!

This Diamo Velux Convertible scooter is so cool!

150 cc scooter with a retracting roof, windshield wiper, CD player w 4/speakers, and anti-lock brakes for a price about $1K less than advertised. It'll do highway speeds and carry a passenger. Yeah, it's made in China, but there is nothing else like it.

Anyone else getting alot of viral spam recently?
Every morning my e-mail inbox has about ten suspicious senders. Half of them somehow have the address/sender/title all show up blank, whil the rest use silly ploys to look like casual personal e-mails. The ones I open are trying to lure me into clicking a hyperlink with descriptions of fictitious women who are supposedly interested in me. Others just have an attachment claiming to be funny pictures or something. No way do I touch them. This stuff gets deleted. Wonder what list I'm on to get this stuff.

Cold Starting
Today was another day where I had to crank the bike till it sounded like the battery had run out until I got signs of life. I guess that should be expected when you have a 3-1/2 year old battery that has sat unused for 36+ hours and it's 22 degrees out. The engine really didn't want to rev at all for the first few miles either.

I'm thinking of getting the Odyssey Drycell battery from Aerostich. I need to order a new switchcord for the electric vest from them anyway. Right now I have the vest sucking juice all the time (surely that doesn't help the battery) and I layer underneath to prevent burning. Yes, this is inefficient but it beats driving.

How much? Well my coworker complained that he saw me lanesplitting past him while he was stuck in traffic on 22. I had left the office 45 minutes after him! Sitting in the cage on the same stretch yesterday, I literally felt my soul slipping out of my body.

Random bike update
So I finally got the fork oil changed and the bike no longer hobby-horses around. Lots of rain-riding recently. This morning it took alot of cranking to get started, and was afraid the battery would run out of juice. Rode with vest unplugged to free up some amps, but had the heated grips blazing because my gloves were dtill damp, having failed to set them out to dry. Apparently leaving wet gloves under a helmet prevents drying.

Doing the Lynndie
This is the new pose I will try to sneak into all photos taken of me from now on.

Why are they called insurgents?
The Iraqi patriots who resist the US invasion/occupation have been designated insurgents by our media. I actually looked the word up, and it means one who uprises against an established authority. The only established authority in Iraq for the last 25 years has been Saddam Hussein. Who rose against his authority? The United States did, hence our military are the insurgents, and the Iraqis are a patriotic militia.

Road rage cards
This is a brilliant idea that allows you to educate other drivers more effectively. I'd really only need the "BLINKER?" and "GET OUT OF THE FAST LANE, MORON!" ones. Everything else is secondary.

Random Blather
It's Thanksgiving week, so I'm riding every day. First off, it barely gets down to mid-40's temperatures, but more importantly people drive too slow. Last night it started raining and sure enough, people act like they're driving on marbles. Drove right between the nimrods.

Bike is a little too vibey and lacking low-end punch. I haven't checked the usual dooseys (chain adjustment, tire presssure) and the usual maintenance (spark plugs, valve adjustment, carb balance, oil change) is all fairly recent. Am due for new fork oil though.

Friday, November 19, 2004
Yeah, I haven't added anything in a few weeks. Well, I'm looking for a new job for one thing, and well, life is boring, and I actually started keeping a girly paper diary that should prompt more entries, but isn't. If any faithful readers want news, e-mail me.

Those things are dangerous
So my pal decided we should ride down to some bar in New Brunswick on Friday night, and we got there and had a beer. After an hour we were unimpressed and left to find light rain. I was told that nmy speed on the way down was overconservative, so I notched it up a little, pulling way ahead on an entry ramp. So when the light went yellow on Route 1, I decided to stop so as not to lose him. Apparently this is not what he expected me to do, as he locked up his brake and I got to see a new Harley sliding sideways into me. Shockingly I was bumped by the bike, but did not fall. Anyway he pops up and asks me if I'm OK, which was pretty amusing seeing as he wass the one who had just dumped his bike and I was clearly still upright.

Anyway, we picked the thing up and walked it off to a side road to assess the damage. Muffler, handlebar and brake levers were scraped, but otherwise all right. He must've locked the rear brake (easy to do with oversize Harley rear brakes), but then made the mistake of letting off before the thing had stopped. No big deal, he tried to start it and was having problems finding neutral. I hopped on and got it out of gear and tried to start it, but succeeded only in turning on the right turn signal due to goofy H-D switchgear placement. Then I pressed the correct button and the thing started, and then swung up to redline. Oops! Killed it and looked at the throttle cable. We couldn't crack the housing as it was fastened with a Torx bolt and we had no such tool.

Anyway he was totally unscathed except for glazing up his Draggin Jeans (the BMW riding jacket wasn't even scuffed). He was pissed that more damage hadn't occurred, so I obliged him by pointing out that the rear peg mount was cracked. He called roadside assistance and eventually sent me home to return in my car.

I returned and the tow hadn't shown yet, as they were taking care of some flipped car on a ramp about half a mile up. We ended the night at White Castle at 2:30 AM, ensuring that my metabolism and sleep schedules were totally screwed for the rest of the weekend. My rear wheel appears to have sustained no damage!

Enough with the stupid magnetic ribbons on cars!
About a month ago, every other car was suddenly sporting a magnet in the shape of a yellow ribbon, with a 'Support Our Troops' message on it. I still am not sure where they come from and how they were disseminated so quickly. Then there were variations: red, white and blue ones with sayings like 'Freeedom isn't free', black POW/MIA ones, pink breast cancer ones, etc. I actually saw one car yesterday that actually had six different ones across the back, and one that had overflowed onto a side door.

I gotta admit that it's a clever marketing move aimed at people who want to portray a jingoistic patriotism, but aren't committed enough to actually put a bumper sticker on their vehicle. But reallly people, stop being lemmings. Nobody is impressed by your superficial show of troop support. In fact it pisses me off, which is why I've started turning the things upside down in parking lots. I may just start collecting them soon, as this fad will soon pass and be a footnote in history like the mass hysteria after the WTC attacks when everyone was duct-taping flags over their hoods and back windows.

Did I mention that my bike has an anti-W sticker on the rear fender. I like to pull ahead of the slow-driving retards with Bush/Cheney stickers and flip them off. If I had a gun, I'd shoot them.

The problem with tankbags
is that you have to remove them to refuel. I've figured out that it's easiest to unclip the thing and toss it on the passenger seat. Yesterday I discovered that the flaw in this technique is, well, forgetting to put it back on. And riding a mile till you realize something is wrong. And going back and asking around and nobody has seen it.

So, just like that time I forgot to zip the Rocketlocker tail-pack on, I'm hoping that somebody is swift enough to find the registaration and insurance cards and honest enough to bring it to my address. Hey, it happened last time! Nothing yet so far. Had the cell phone blocked, chained up the bike (as there was a spare key in the bag, and miss my expensive Held gloves. Oh, and I need new copies of insurance & registration.

Filed a report at the police station; they hadn't seen it. WHERE'S MY TANK BAG???

You are .inf You are informative.  When you are gone you make life very difficult for others.
Which File Extension are You?

October 9&10: the Motorcycle Trifecta
With almost no planning of my own, I managed to hit the big 3 of motorcycling destinations: the Hawk's Nest and High Point State Park on Saturday, and Bear Mountain on Sunday.

The Saturday ride was a memorial ride, and started off poorly. Once we got up to Route 23, I was reminded how lousy of a rider Jean is. He almost killed us all with his overbraking. Luckily all the pantywaists bailed out early, and we got serious. Coming back through the Hawk's Nest, I finally ripped it up, my third round trip through their so far.

Even better was near the end, when Sandy too the lead. This was some guy on a new Goldwing, wearing a bunch of Vietnam Vets Against Kerry paraphenalia, who surely noticed the anti-W sticker on my fender. Anyway, he tore up Clove Road, a delightful rollercoaster of a road in Montague. It was work keeping up with his giant bike, complete with passenger. We also went through High Point. Previously when I've been there, I entered from 23, and it was nothing special. Coming in from the other side is much better! Anyway, when we stopped, the first words I hear are "Howdya like them roads, Suzuki?" Well, I like them very much Sandy!

Sunday was a TSSB ride to Bear Mountain. Met up in Edgewater, which required nasty Lincoln Tunnel traffic. Roared up the Palisades Parkway (I would've taken this a bit slower myself, just for appearances). Not a leaf watcher, but it was gorgeous up there. The side of a mountain all patterned up by fall foliage, just amazing. Zipping around while the wind blows leaves at you is hella cool too.

Anyway, it seems that just like the last time I rode with this group, someone slides off the road and into a nice soft patch of dirt. And we get delayed fixing up the unharmed riders bike. In this case the left footpeg bracket snapped, making shifting impossible. Using my materials (really guys, carry zip-ties with you!), they managed to rotate the ball-joint and tie it so that he could kick down to upshift, and somehow use his hand to downshift. I don't get how he did it, but the guy made it home.

Ridin' that bike, man...Here every 5 minutes
Yup, that's the two snippets of conversation I heard from the Sunoco gas jockey talking to his coworker after I fueled up yesterday. I'm guessing it was in reference to the 30,000 mile AMA Long Rider sticker that I have on the bike's tail.

Admittedly, I have filled up at this station before a weekend afternoon ride only to stop and refuel on the way home a few hours later more than once, but I don't think I ever saw the same guy twice in one day.

Crappy Car!
I drove to work this morning, and everything was going fine until I hit this horrendous pothole and heard a big bang. My intitial thought was that I'd blown a tire, but the smoke inside the car let me know that the jolt had set of the passenger side-impact airbag. I bet that's expensive. The front left tire also has a bulge on the sidewall. Hopefully the rim isn't bent. Why does crap like this alwaYs happen the instant I get some money in my pocket?

Team America, World Police
As best I can tell, the creators of South Park have done a Thunderbirds-style stop-animation movie that lambastes Bush. Sounds good to me.

Motorcycling as seen on Veronica Mars
Yeah, I've watched both episodes of this show so far and it seems that Weevil, the leader of the unnamed motorcycle gang is a regular, shown in the opening credits. Last night they did some product placement on his Victory (aka Polaris) Vegas with the factory 'custom' paint. Kudos for showing a real motorcyle and an American one at, but this is an odd choice seeing as how the rest of his always helmetted (in no-helmet law California) gang ride sportbikes.

A Justification for Lanesplitting (as though one were necessary)
Ever since Labor Day (presumably because of horrid soccer moms toting kids to school ands back) traffic has just been unbearable. Luckily on the majority of days, I don't have to bear much, as I am smart enough to ride a motorcycle and skilled enough to safely manouver it between essentially parked cars. Some people, in my opinion the people most responsible for traffic, don't like this practice. Because it illustrates how dumb they are for driving a giant cage around.

Last Friday I was faced with 'cage constipation' and I have decided that bike will flow at a minimum of about 20 mph, regardless of what conditions are. So I'm coasting through taillights and I think some arm reached out a window. I don't know, I don't care. I'm past them now. Haha! Anyway I pull in front of a vehicle that has left a giant space in front of it, you know, just to illustrate that he is not following close enough, and I get stuck there for a minute and the other lane picks up and along comes some miserable shrew with her ugly head out her window screaming "YOU DON'T BELONG ON THE ROAD!" presumably because of the lanesplitting. I'm also assuming this was the arm that failed to contact me before. Of course I ripped out next to her, made a kicking motion and hollered back to her before proceeding down the centerline.

Now really, the cause of traffic, the definition of traffic, is too many cars. If I am on a bike, I am suffering for something that I am not responsible for, as I am not in a car. This is wrong. Besides, the civlized Europeans all lane-split and to go back further, I doubt that riders on horseback ever trodded dutifully behind wobbly stagecoaches.

Carpe Diem
For once in my life, I am not letting the prime fall motorcycling season slip past me. I am riding every chance I get. It helps that I hate my car. Actually this article sums up why I pretty much hate all cars made in the last fifteen years or so.

SIM card copying
My cell phone recently has had problems powering on and recognizing the SIM card. I seem to have temporarily fixed this by wedging a cardboard shim between the battery and the card, but I needed an excuse to buy a SIM card copier anyway. I found a few on eBay, and bought one. I hope this works...

If you try to run, I will shoot you!
Finally did a Monday night Airport Plaza ride last night. Impressive in that 40+ bikes show up, however it was a sort of squiddy/stunter crowd. Sped up the GSP and 287 to some industrial area and watched guys do wheelies and stoppies. Then the cops came. I have to give credit to the group that they kept cool and didn't run. It was hilarious when the megaphone of one of the coralling cruisers uttered 'if you try to run, I will shoot you!" Anyway the group was told to disperse with a threat of running plates to see who was unregistered, etc. Yes, I am a little old for this and no, I doubt I'll go back anytime soon, but it was worth doing once.

Washed the 'stich
Yes, my hi-viz lime yellow Aerostich Roadcrafter jacket was more of a drab mustard color thanks to all the road grime (rain riding behind trucks is great for this). I washed it and now I feel lemon fresh. OK, it's not as clean as new, and I'm not sure I put the armor in right, but do-it-yourselfers don't expect perfection.

On experience...
Riding into work today a guy on a new Katana 750 pulled alongside me. Judging by the cautious riding style and the street-clothes he was wearing I assumed he was a new rider. I was in the right hand lane behind typical slowpoke cagers, and had a chance to rip ahead. For some reason I thought I would be a role model to the newb and stay where I was.

Last night the new registration for the bike came in the mail. So I had to put the sticker on my license plate, which took longer than it should because the license plate frame covers part of the sticker (I wanted to take the old sticker off and put the new on one under the frame). Add to that the fact my license plate bolts are in fact fruity LED's wired to the brake light, meaning that I can loosen, but not remaove the frame.

Retightening the LED bolts, I figured I should check that they were grounded properly, being that they're rusty and had been moved. Sure enough, half of them needed work. Only later did I use the front brake instead of the rear and find didn't work. The scary fact was that I had a spare front brake light switch in my apartment and was able to quickly find it and swap it out. Yes, I am truly a geek. The reason I have a spare is that I bought it to replace the failing original which was brought back to life after I dried it out in the toaster oven. Last night I even tried popping the old one apart to see if it was salvagable, but had no luck.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Well, I picked my bike up on Friday, and as usual Bay Cycle did a superlative job for less money than I expected. They deemed the rear sprocket re-usable, noticed ball bearing missing from the clutch (it now shifts much better, but neutral is harder to find), safety-wired up my busted lower radiator mount, and put on a new front tire, front sprocket, drive chain and clutch cable.

This morning I learned that Bilko and his wife had a head-on collision on that new bike of theirs on Sunday. Bonehead illegally passed and drove right into them. From what I gather, he broke a toe, and she has a few broken ribs. There is surely a lot of road rash, as they are t-shirt & jeans motorcyclists.

9-11 Day falls on Saturday this year, so the malls will surely be extra-crowded. Call me nuts, but 9-11 day is just too close to Labor day, and they both seem like contrived holidays. Anyhow, my Saturdays for the next month straight are booked with motorcycle events, so I'll hit the 9-11 sales and get some new clothes.

Is Dick Cheney dead yet?
Dick Cheney is still alive as of today.

How not to adjust a drive chain
On Tuesday when I rolled into work, Bilko (being a veteran biker) heard my chain slapping around and pointed it's looseness out to me. I tightened her up at home, albeit it was dark and I was out on the street due to lack of parking. Well the next morning I heard an even wierder rythmic clicking coming from behind me on the ride in. Checking it last night, I found that the left side wasn't moving, and once everything was unbound, their was an entire indexing mark discrepancy between the two sides of the swingarm. Well, I starightened it out, but have apparently ruined the chain. Which is ok since the thing has like 25K on it.

August 25, 2004 is my bike's 3rd birthday
Yes, I still fondly remember the nefarious train/bus/walk route I took through the streets of Newark, and how when I finally got there, she was parked out on the sidewalk, all shiny and new. I walked by and thought That's my bike! and was the happiest little boy in the whole world.

Anyhow she has stuck with me for three years and thirty thousand miles, and all that she has asked for in return is scheduled maintenance and a clutch switch or two. To celebrate the big day I got her a set of spark plugs and tightened her chain. Well, actually I realized both were way overdue, but it's the thought that counts. I hope I spend many more happy years with her.

Back from the Buffalo Roast in Virginia!
and what a trip it was. Went to Bilko's house, and waited for someone else who was riding to the area. He showed up with his bike packed in a tragicomical manner with all sorts of junk bungeed and lashed to the bike. In fact the taillight and license plate were covered when he pulled up.

The actual riding was quite nice. Straight two lane highway, smooth with no crosswind. Stopped for lunch in PA and Bilko called to check on other members of his club that were riding down. Upon announcing that one of them had a charging problem on their bike, the first question was "What does he ride, a Harley?" to which Bilko gave a look that said "Is the Pope Catholic?"

Eventually hit Shenandoah National Park, and rode thru Skyline Drive. Great road, like a slower, tighter, more hilly Palisades Parkway. The view was terrific, but very similar at every lookout point.

Bilko had said that he had secured a cabin at the campground, and then started using the word 'caboose' which I dismissed as odd use of language. Turns out the cabin was literally a renovated train caboose. Beats a tent.

Saturday was drizzly the whole day so there were no grand rides. Around noon we headed out to a convenience store and somehow got hijacked into Rags stopping at a laundromat to dry his socks and boots. I only saw it once, but the claim was that a local sheriff car drove by six times because, you know, five bikers were invading the town.

I missed out on the first ride because BJ comes circling around on his old Shovelhead in a t-shirt and overalls in the rain asking if anyone wants to go on a ride, and a few seconds after trying to figure out if he was serious, I see Mike starting up the hill on his giant BMW K1200LT, going a tad fast. He fishtails wildly, looks like he's made a nice recovery, then the thing slides around on him and drops. AmazinGly no damage was done.

Later the rain had subsided and I headed out solo to the southern portion of Skyline Drive. At the park entrance, the odometer was at 29999 miles, so I took before and after pics. It was foggy as all hell and the roads were still wet, but I got myself together for some decent corner carving on the way back. I also stopped to take picture of the sign for Route 666 and the town sign that said 'HOOD' in true Beavis and Butt-head style. In doing so, some Mennonite (I'm guessing that was what the women in the grey dresses and little white hats were?)lady asked me for directions and another guy asked if I was from Jersey.

The buffalo was good food, and there were more shenanigens that night. We rode back up with uh, two people whose names I forgot. The woman was in front of me through most of Skyline, and was not comfortable on the corners. I'm sure me swooping up in her mirrors didn't help. I asked Bilko why we were going about 40 mph instead of 50 like we did on Friday. His answer was that enforcement is heavier during better weather, so I was glad I hit the place alone when it was dreary out.

Finally got to Front Royal and ended up eating at The Village Idiot, which appeared to have one androgyne working there. I did not know that a birdcage at the door of a restaurant/bar was code for a gay-friendly facilty. Anyway, lunch took longer than expected.

At about 4 PM we realized there was still about 240 miles to go. Snippet of conversation:

Bill: We could go 95...

Rags: Are you kidding? My mirrors will fall of at 95!

Yes, they meant 95 mph, and obviously someone rides a Harley. Anyway, we remembered we were in PA when we hit construction traffic on 78. I got sick of it after a while and just took off doing the lanesplitting thing. One ass in an SUV with a trailer (betcha there was a HOG inside) kept trying to block me, and I gave his vehicles a few kicks. My foot hit the trailer wheel while it was moving, proving that non-grippy motorcycle boot soles are the way to go.

I got home around 10 PM, and left a message for Bill saying that I got back safe. An hour later they called back saying they had just got in. Lanesplitting rules! They also informed me that I was the hot topic of conversation on the CB radio: "We got a yellow bird buzzing through here, watch out for him!" Which explains why some of the trucks were parting like the Red Sea as I approached. 875 miles total.

Thursday, August 19, 2004
Tomorrow I'll be heading out to Virginia for a sober Buffalo Roast. Yes my shock is crud, and yes I loves to drink, but I also want to click the odometer past 30K in an interesting place, and Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park seems like a good place.

This should be interesting, as the place will surely be littered with stereotypical bikers, and I will be on my l'il SV650, wearing a yellow Aerostich suit

Rear Shock, Busted!
When I got that new Metzeler Roadtec Z6 rear tire mounted, I was concerned that I'd bent the rim out of round by, well, riding in New Jersey. The people at JDS Cycle assured me that the wheel was true. The Z6 did not particularly impress me.

But thanks to Jeff pointing out the clunking noise coming from my bike on Saturday, I realized that the ride was crap due to the shock being dead. Yes, I failed to notice the pogo-stick bouncing, somehow. I am sure it has been busted since before the tire was mounted, and those idiots failed to notice it also.

Anyway, I've been wanting to upgrade anyway, and I'll have the people at Bay Cycle do it, since they know suspensions and don't do shoddy work. I also am past due on a valve adjustment, and need to get a third clutch cable to start stretching out. But the bike has been a good girl, and is at 29,350 miles or so, ignoring the 3K or so when the odometer wasn't working.

Unfortunately I am planning on leaving for a weekend trip to Virginia on Friday (Skyline Drive in the Shenandoahs AND a Buffalo Roast? YES!! No Alcohol? well, I guess I'll survive...) so I guess I'll be doing a lot of miles on just the rear spring. Should be interesting.

Hawk's Nest ride 8/14/04
This was a good day overall. Fine points included:

* Having my suspicions about the effectiveness of scotch-taping the corners of a printed-out map to a motorcycle's gas tank confirmed when a plethora of pages fly off on Route 22 at 65 mph or so.

* A group that somehow thought the only person who knew the route should ride near the back of the group, hence resulting in seing him point in vain to the missed exit sign as the lead rider passed it. I think I saw this happen about three times.

* A relative newbie low-siding his 600RR on some gravel and landing in some nice soft dirt, unharmed. Hell, didn't even damage the plastics. Of course he had a coolant leak that later had to be patched up...

Anyway here are a few good pics:The group, the bikes, the view.