Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words...

It's been almost a year since I did my cross country on my bike and I've been reminiscing.  There was so much I could have written about everyday while I was on the road. People, animals, the landscape...the parks, the problems, the surprises...I couldn't have written it all and still had friends. I took a ton of pictures and, while the pictures can't really convey the real thing either, they're the next best thing to being there and saved me from torturing you. 

I took a lot of pictures while I was on the road. From the start, the camera was in my tank bag with all the other important stuff, so I could take it off the bike at stops and have everything valuable with me at one shot. On the first day, I pulled over if I saw something too pretty to pass by. On the second day, I started thinking that there were way many more picture-worthy scenes than there were stops.

I'd seen pix from other bikers who took photos on the move and I decided that it had to be doable and that I'd better figure it out. The first time was kinda stressful, I must say. I managed to actually take a shot and not leave my lane or donate the camera to the pavement gods. Luckily the roads were nearly all mine and there was lots to see, so I got a lot of practice in quickly.

The persistent thought for the next 2 or 3 days, as I became more confident and prolific photographer, was that I wouldn't be able to show any of these pictures to my folks. I could see their faces in my mind as I proudly lay a stunning shot on the kitchen table, excitedly giving the back story and oblivious to the yellow painted line in the corner of the photo separating the lane from the shoulder. Pop is the one to say it first, "Did you take that while you were driving?"  Mom touches the corner of the photo with three fingers to twist it toward her...  But I got over it eventually.

There were a couple things I didn't get pictures of that I wish I had.  Somewhere out West heading home I passed a lemon grove on the right with two crows perched together on one of the branches.  As I watched, one of them grabbed a lemon and took off, leaving the second crow to do some wing-flapping to keep balanced on the shaken branch.  Finally!  Something unique among the tons of road/sky/landscape photos!  The crows, the bright yellow lemons were a stark contrast to the backdrop of green leaves and seemed bizarrely out of place...but I have nothing to document the reality of the moment.  That one is subject to my failing memory.

Cows were not uncommon.  I took many photos of cows along the way.  Of particular note was the one that stared me down from the middle of the road as I was finally able to leave Capulin Volcano after a hail storm.  I was quite ready to be on my way, but he wasn't having it.  Even with a hundred cow pictures, one I wish I'd gotten, so that I wouldn't have to rely on the faded version in my head, was of two cows under the big arching tree canopy standing off from the rest of the herd.  Unremarkable in general, two cows and a tree, but the image was so perfect...

And the two horses drinking from a stream at an overpass.  I wish I'd gotten that one, too, but I console myself instead with the 3 horses that played with me on a lonely road in New Mexico.  They were fun and I have enough of those to make a flip book to relive it in stop motion.

All told, I took an average of 300 photos a day.  Some of them turned out to be pictures of Max, my windscreen, my sleeve or the pavement since I didn't always give the shutter the time it needed before trying to put the camera away.  But amongst the blurry and misframed are some nice memories.  It took a couple hours every night to go through the pix and write the daily blog, but being able to look back on the trip now as a narrated scrapbook has been worth it.

And, so, I leave you with a taste of the rejects.  Feel free to create the image of what might have been, cuz I surely do not know. :)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Moonshine Lunch Run

Another way late post!

The first ride of the season was for a hamburger in Illinois.  The Moonshine Fun Run is held in April every year for the last 6 years.  It is a tad early in the season for many, I know.  Here's the reason from their FAQ page:

10. Why have this in April?
Well, I farm for 1 reason. Farming runs all the way up through June. Then, I am ready to head off to the Blue Ridge Parkway like I always do. Fall would be a good time to have it too, but again faming rules what I can do and when I do it. But, you know, most seem to like the idea of April! Why? Many have all been setting around for months not able to ride. For months before Moonshine Run, we can sit and talk about going. It is the first big blow out of the riding year that many can attend. We can yak forever about the bad weather we rode through, the tornado's we saw on the way up, the snow we drove through on the way down and the hail that hit us 100 miles away from home! We really can wear our Moonshine shirts with pride knowing that we are motorcycle riders and not just owners. We proved it by making the Moonshine Lunch Run!

Interestingly, it was in the 80's in Maryland the day before I left and the unseasonable heat apparently fried my brain.  After riding in my mesh jacket all day and still feeling warm, I went home and excitedly packed for the trip.  Like it was going to be 80. 

It wasn't.

It was cold.  It was just plain cold from home to the Ohio state line.  Once I crossed that  imaginary dotted line separating the states, started to rain.  Then it was really cold.  And wet.  I pulled over at the first drops on my windscreen to put my rain gear on.  I filled up at the station and yanked out my rain gear, had something to drink and decided that I really didn't feel like struggling with my boot covers.  I really just wanted to be back on the road and really easily convinced myself that it wouldn't rain *that* much and my boots wouldn't get *that* wet and off I went.

Ohio sucked.

At some point I stopped to put my boot covers on, if just to add a layer to block the wind from my oh-so-wet feet.  It stopped raining at the imaginary line on the far side of Ohio and I kept my rain gear on to stay warmer.

I checked in with Hoagy along the way and eventually told him that I would be too cold, wet and tired to ride 50 miles more to the dinner from his place and that he should go on without me.  He left me a key and I took a hot bath and went to bed once I got there.

I felt much better the next morning and jumped right in.

So, here's what the weekend looked like:

Thursday April 8th

Hoagy the shutter bug!  Got me.
Ride from Maryland to Robinson, Illinois (700 miles)
Eat - Cookout at Terry's
(Joanne skips this to soak in the tub at Hoagy's place to thaw in time for the rest of the weekend.)

Friday April 9th

Ride to Casey, Ill to meet up with the others (50 miles)
Eat breakfast

Heading out!

Ride to Stovepipe Grill (20 miles)

Abe Lincoln gives Doug and me the finger.
Hoagy and me and Doug's finger. :)

Eat lunch
Ride to Effingham, Ill to see Corvette Museum (46 miles)

At the car museum.  Trying to soak up some sun in the parking lot.

Ride back to Casey, Ill  (35 miles)

Bikes as far as the eye can see...

Eat dinner at Richard's Farm Restaurant

Me, John and George
Jimmy and Doug

Ride back to Hoagy's (50 miles)

Saturday April 10th - Moonburgers!

Ride to Comfort Inn (50 miles)

Announcements and blesssing of the bikes.

Eat breakfast at Comfort Inn
Ride to Moonshine (15 miles)

Me and the gang at Moonshine!

Eat Hamburgers

Doug and I chat over lunch.

Ride to Casey Firehall (15 miles)

Jimmy Knowles gets volunteered to do his auctioneer thang.

Eat at Firehall chili dinner fundraiser
Ride to Hoagy's (50 miles)

Sunday April 11th - Breakfast

Ride to Comfort Inn (50 miles)


Perpetually cold.

Ride home (770 miles)

Hoagy and the guys who were also either crashing at Hoagy's or hooked up with us to ride stopped at a local shop so I could buy warm gloves and give Hoagy his loaners back.  I also snagged a long sleeved fleece shirt with a mock neck collar from him while I was there.  I stopped short at the lined jeans he offered.  Not that I was finally warm, but I'd packed stupid and should suffer a little of the consequences.

It was a great time with some fun folks.  Hoagy hangs with some good folks and I'm fortunate to have met some of them now.  George, Doug and Jim were all fun and I rode home part of the way with company.  I also got myself into my next IBA run.  Craziness!  That will have to wait for a future post, though, cuz right now it's SECRET!  check out between now and August for hints before and pictures after!