Sunday, May 4, 2008

Life Behind 'Bars

Editorial note: The gas prices below were corrected following my initial posting. Kudos go to "Eagle Eye" Shane, for his aggressive proof-reading and fact-finding style....

Dear readers and riders,

Another hectic week has passed and my work and writing have suffered, as a result. I'm numb from the pace and know that the next few weeks will bring more of the same. I enjoyed a short work week as a result of two personal days out of the office. Thursday/Friday saw us dashing across MASS and NY states in the car.

After two days of highway driving, I can tell you that I would prefer to avoid the blandness of the interstates as much as possible on our Sturgis ride. The sterility and sameness will make any highway riding a boring part of the trip. Perhaps it's just the industrial Northeast that looks this way or, will it suck until we get West of Chicago?

On the Mass pike, we got boxed in by a long line of tractor trailers who hogged both lanes for a good 10-15 miles. As a result, our average speed through that section was probably 50 mph. Eventually we were able to pass and break free of the congestion but none of those 18-wheelers were about to pull over for a car trying to go 75-80. There's no way they would have moved over for a motorcyclist.

Traffic overall, was heavy for this trip. And gas prices outside of NH were astonishing. Unless you were willing to purchase the no-name brand gasoline, expect to pay close to $4/gallon. We stopped on the NY State Thruway and I refused to put in more than $10 (at $3.75/gal.), enough to get us to our destination. When we reached Rochester, the price was worse, at $3.87/gal. for my preferred Mobil brand. WTF????? That's $.40 more per gallon than we pay here. And I thought we had it bad already!

Today is another wash-out for riding. As I write this, sitting on the couch and watching my favorite Italian princess Giada DeLaurentis cook (and jiggle), the rain outside is pouring down. This is the remnant of the Midwest storm that trounced Arkansas. The realization set in yesterday that this season is going to be a short one. That is, unless we see warm weather all the way through November. With less than 90 days until we depart for Sturgis, I'm hesitant to service my bike or even make the purchases I'd planned to customize it for the ride.

The folks at Mustang Seat offer a 30-day return policy but I can't even imagine getting out more than a few times, in that amount of time, at this point in the season. Even if the weather cooperated, I've been driving a co-worker (who lost her license) to and from work. This wasn't a concern through the winter months but now I'm ready to ride on the occasional nice day. But I can't, thanks to her. She tends to dress in shorts or skirts and open toe shoes/sandals. Plus, she doesn't own a helmet and my old one won't fit. I'm trying to gently encourage her to find other options but I think they are very limited. So, all the miles I put on my bike last year commuting to work, won't happen this year.

So, here I am, not riding for fun or work, thanks to the vagaries of the weather and personal obligations. So much for being a nice guy.

I'm off to NYC this week to meet with, among others, Martha Stewart. Well, I don't know if we will get to meet the domestic diva herself, but I have a meeting with her minions. After that, a quick trip to Orlando, before month's end, for a trade show.

I'm afraid that riding season will "sneak up" on me. It's here but it's not here, y'know? And then, if we're lucky, it will be sunny and warm (or hot) every day and I won't be ready for it. So, what to do? Soldier on, I guess and make preparations to get to Sturgis. We have a planning meeting soon for the four horsemen. Perhaps we can negotiate route planning and come up with an alternative to the current direct (interstates) route.

In preparation for the trip, I'm getting a physical this month. Yes, I'm seeing my cute doctor again and will let her investigate every orifice. I want a clean bill of health for the trip. The weight issue has stagnated and I need to start exercising. I wish that Poet would send me his workout regimen as his results have been transforming. I don't know that I have the wherewithal to get up at 4AM and head outdoors for a long walk/jog/run. But I have to do something. I've plateaued and I'm back to all of my bad (eating) habits. You know, beer, chips...Today will be my last day of freedom and I will attempt to get back on the good foot. Tomorrow.

I'm hoping that some of the readers from other states will comment on their current riding conditions. I'm fortunate that readers have stumbled across (StumbleUpon) this blog and have read it. I'd like feedback from riders outside of New England. How is it in California? Texas? How about Arizona? How is the riding there, this time of the year? I'm hoping that within five years, I can find a new home, with better weather which will allow me to ride year-round or close to year-round. I know a lot of us think about this, so let me know what you are experiencing and your favorite local riding spot.

My apologies for the gloominess. It's a weather thing. See me when the barometer is rising and we'll tear up some asphalt together. Oh yeah, and Happy Cinqo de Mayo!

A low, slow wave,

Joe Rocket

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