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Sunday, June 5, 2011

It's a Long, Long Road

I know I keep saying this, but this country is big!

My home islands of Aotearoa/New Zealand have about the same area as Texas. I wanted to visit Texas and eat a wild pig and drink Tequila, but I don't think I'm going to make it. (I'll post the bowl, Matt.)

I am currently in Sterling Heights, MI, having ridden from DC to Detroit on Wednesday in one day. Mapquest gave the journey as just under 10 hours, I made it in about 12 but definitely had at least two hours of stops along the way.

I had initially planned to stop in Pittsburgh overnight but it was only noon when I passed there and I only had another five hours riding so decided to continue. I'm glad I did, but was even more glad to step away from the bike at the end of that day.

I now detest the Ohio Turnpike (I-80 W), particularly in big winds. I was being buffeted from all directions, and the numerous big rigs did not help with the wind currents. At least this time, I was passing the trucks, not the trucks passing me as happened in thunderstorms I rode through going from Elon, NC, to Norfolk, VA, the previous week.

The bike performed admirably but reminded me, about five hours into the ride, that we'd intended to replace the screws that held the left fender to the tank. It wanted off while fighting the Ohio winds doing 80+ mph. I had very limited choices but jury-rigged a solution that lasted til Detroit. I've since spent some hours and borrowed friends' skills to ensure that won't happen again, and will never head out again without at least cable ties and duct tape. The GPS has also found a real mount - velcroing it to the tank worked, but having to look down that low while doing 80+ and being bracketed on all sides by trucks wasn't the safest thing I've ever done.

Then again, it wasn't the riskiest, either.

I still have almost two months and a lot of miles to cover. I'm probably going to stay based here (in an amazing historic house with ultra amazing people) for a week or more and visit an artist/writer/brilliant person friend in Lansing, MI, from here. I'd also like to cross the bridge to Canuckistan while I'm so close but will speak to US and CA immigration before I do so to make sure the bike and I can get back. It would be a little embarrassing to have to smuggle it back. But would make for a great story.

After here, North Dakota, via (tentatively) Chicago and Minnesota. From ND, down to Kansas/Missouri to meet my favorite super-hero's alter-ego and better half  - he's a sick, sick cartoon character, but very wise. I'll be spending Sunday worship with the Westboro Baptist Church while there, and balancing that by talking to some Patriot Riders (Google both terms if that makes no sense to you).

After that, Arkansas and then time to make my way back to Norfolk to return the bike, teach an amazing lady to ride and visit Monticello with her and her equally amazing sister. It will then be time to find a  job and pay off this adventure, while saving for the next. It's time to send out the Resume, I guess, but not today.

Today, I'm riding in a funeral escort requested by the family of a Great Lakes military member who was killed during his 9th deployment to Iraq/Afghanistan. These non-wars have been going that long. (This same week, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has talked openly about pay and benefit cuts to the military, including medical.)

Stay safe out there.


  1. woo~ in Michigan!

  2. Hmmmmm. Chinese Whispers.

    It was the Staff Sergeant's 2nd deployment, not 9th as we were initially told.

    It was a very emotional ride and most people we passed stopped and stood at attention while the procession rolled through. It was quite something to see Mom, Dad and all the kids standing in their front yard as a sign of respect.