Day 1: Surviving the winter

20150103_234816It’s Winter in Ohio, and for the motorcycle obsessed like myself, it’s a particularly manic-depressive roller coaster in this part of the world. Following yesterday’s torrential downpours and temps in the high 50’s, the high today is 49, which was at 7 AM as temps fall into the teens all day leading to tomorrow’s high of 19. Sure, it could be worse: snow and negative temperatures; but according to the (clueless) weatherman, that’s only two days away. Thus enter the survival strategy: plan 2015 rides & destinations, obsess over the latest motorcycle models in the news, and do my homework on motorcycle maintenance and the latest farkles to accessorize my ride.

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Deal’s Gap Motorcycle Resort on U.S. 129 “Tail of the Dragon”

I put just under fifteen thousand miles on my Triumph in 2014; while it’s a maintenance nightmare that I would prefer to avoid this year, there are already some serious plans on tap that may lead to more in 2015. Hell or high water, I’m going back to the Dragon this year. Last September I spent four days at Deal’s gap and felt like I barely got a chance to ride. Mind you, day 1 was the five hour ride from Ohio to the Gap, which rapidly became an eight hour ride in the worst rainy freeway conditions; me white knuckled on the bars, my wife wife, that same in the truck following our group. Two days of riding through TN and NC were great, but constantly concerned about when the heavens were going to open up; therefore I’m planning a full week this year. It’s also the big 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this year. While I have no interest, what so ever, in the rally and associated traffic and debauchery, the Black Hills are on my Moto Bucket List; not to mention Devil’s Tower, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, need I go on? Without fail, I will return to Red River Gorge (Kentucky) again this year. Mind you, this is somewhat of a milk run considering my grandma lives across the street, but nonetheless it’s a must do. While I have routes in the backlog to tackle the triple nickel (Ohio Route 555), I can ride through  the twisties of eastern Kentucky, stop to take a photo at the Sky Bridge, then home in less time that it would take me to attempt to tack the 555 in a day. These are the big hitters that I plan on booking vacation days for, but I will offer honorable mention for Daytona Bike Week, a weekend trip to Tellico Plains (Tennessee), and possibly Rolling Thunder in DC; so stay tuned!

What you want and what you can afford is probably a concept we’re all familiar with. I love my trusty Speedmaster, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t gladly park something else next to it, given the chance. Much to the irritation of my lovely wife, hours and hours of cold snowy evenings are spent on the couch, surfing the web drooling over the hottest new bikes, gear, and accessories. When I bought the Speedmaster in 2013, I figured I would ride a lot; without a doubt I take every opportunity to ride, but believe it or not, most miles are simply commuting to work. That being said, what surprised me most is that my wife actually rides with me way more than I expected. Two years, and twenty-four thousand miles later, I question my choice in bikes; all the while knowing I tend to have a “grass is always greener” mentality, I’m “thrifty”, and I struggle to find the one bike that can do everything I want it to do (does such a bike exist?). Right now I have my sights on a Triumph Tiger (possibly in lieu of the Speedmaster, but who knows), but I have yet to determine which model; more on this later.

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Me in the middle of a very painful 24k Service. A lot of lessons learned here.

I paid over $400 this year to have my 12,000 mile service done at a dealer this year. Suddenly, I found myself taking interest in doing all of my own maintenance. With a few new specialized tools, hours and hours of scouring the internet for useful tips and how-to’s I’m making a good run at it now. Certainly this comes at a cost: time, but more importantly, lessons learned, some which have been “the hard way”. I expect over the coming weeks I will publish more about the struggles of doing your own maintenance, and in my case, modifications and “homemade” accessories.

This is pretty much my “to-do” list in the next eight weeks. Last January was a depressing winter wasteland in Ohio, as of now there’s no reason to expect anything different this year. I figured I would take this time to map out plans for the fun stuff for this year, talk about the painfully hard lessons learned last year, and generally obsess about the next motorcycle I can’t live without.

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One Response to Day 1: Surviving the winter

  1. Pingback: Destination Menifee County: Gateway to Red River Gorge | Moto Adventurer

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