Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sharin' the Road!

I'm on the road without my usual resources. Open a map of Oregon. Look clear at the top of Oregon and you'll see a river dividing Oregon and Washington. It's the mighty Columbia. Somewhere a hundred miles East of Portland is the town of The Dalles. Weird name, but it's from the French word "dalle". If I remember correctly, the word has something to do with water flowing quickly over flat basaltic rocks. There's a big dam here, busily supplying the ever growing hunger for electrical power. We're in a hotel a couple stone's throw away from the river. The plan is to be in the Richland-Kennewick, Washington area by tomorrow night. We'll spend the rest of the weekend there. Thanks to a laptop and wireless internet, I can put this post up from our hotel.

We made a couple of stops along with my business appointments. Did a little bike shopping. I'm dismayed to see the 2008 Honda ST1300's with ABS almost all gone, already. The more I think about it, the more I'm drawn to the BMW R1200RT, or maybe the K1200GT. I rode a student's R1200RT on the track last weekend. Love the way it feels on the track. He practically had to wrestle me off the bike to get it back! Going to have to do something pretty darn quick, me thinks! Otherwise, I could be waiting a few more months for the 2009's.

This week I'm honored to introduce Krysta Sutterfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I know what you're thinking. She's a rider from the heart of Harley country. However, there will be no Harley on the blog this week. On the other hand, Krysta's sent me photos of several bikes so there's some nice variety. Enough from me. Let's hear from Krysta.

My name is Krysta and I’m a motorcyclist.

I don’t know why I got the bug to ride, because nobody in my family rode. In fact, my parents thought it was dangerous and unladylike. (17 years after I started, my big brother decided it looks like fun. The whimp didn’t tell Mom until she went to visit for a week.)

My first bike was a 1990 125cc Yamaha scooter named Candy. She was an automatic so I didn’t have to worry about shifting while I was learning to ride. I bought her during my first job after my first time through college and had a blast riding everywhere. My riding needs had changed, so I sold her last summer. ::sniffle::



Before I met Karl, I always wore a helmet (open-face), but other than that the idea of safety gear never entered my mind. Same for a safe riding course. I’m sure if I had known about either one, I would have taken training and worn proper gear. Looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t get hurt.

Karl & I met a bit over 3 years ago at a Mensa Halloween convention in Chicago. In getting to know him that weekend, I admired the motorcycle he’d ridden, he promised me a ride in the sidecar, and our relationship took off from there.

At first, he was happy that I had my own endorsement. Then he realized that meant I was always absconding with one of his bikes. Then he bought me my own. I think he likes me. : )

The next motorcycle I rode was Frank, who is the sidecar & our only winter bike [1000cc ‘82 BMW]. Karl figured that while I was concentrating on learning to shift, at least I wouldn’t tip over. We’ve taken some long trips in Frank, alternating driving and sleeping.



Then he put me on a 500cc Yamaha, which was great for around town but a little underpowered for freeways. The easiest, most direct route between our houses uses a couple of freeways, so this was important. The Yamaha was sold to a friend who is smaller and doesn’t ride on freeways, so it has a good home now.



My daily commuter is Betty [650cc ‘86 BMW]. We bought her a little over a year ago. As far as we know we’re the 3rd owners, and the first 2 didn’t love her at all. I’ve put about 7500 miles just on her this past year, which is coming close to doubling her mileage. I rode her to the rally at the Biltmore estate last June, and that was a fun trip. (Except for the crosswinds on the freeways, and the guy who tried to hit both of us with his Mustang. He only got a couple months in jail, but it’s better than nothing.)



There have been several other bikes in the stable, all of which I’ve ridden to some degree. (Except for Binky, who is still in the milk crates he arrived in.) The most interesting day of riding I’ve had was taking Candy to Karls house, then Flash [’03 1150cc BMW roadster] on a 2-hour drive, then the sidecar around town once we got there, then reversing it all at the end of the day. Extremely different riding styles needed for each of them.

Spring of ’07 I took a basic safety class and enjoyed it. I learned things, corrected some bad habits, and more or less got over my fear of curves. (Did I mention I’d crashed in OCT06? In a curve? Now I know how tar snakes make the bike slip.) I keep threatening to register for one of Dan’s advanced classes. It’d be quite a commute, but fun.

If I could find a place to sponsor me for the state training, I’d like to be a motorcycle safety instructor. (I teach boating safety for the Coast Guard and the Wisconsin DNR, so I know I can handle the teaching part of things.) Meanwhile, I try to set a good example, be a courteous rider, wave to kids, and talk up safety gear and courses whenever I get a chance.

Krysta

I suddenly have the urge to find a hack and go play in the snow!

The garage door's always open and the coffee pot's full. Drop by and introduce yourself to us. Krysta made an interesting comment when she sent me her post. She commented on how everyone seemed to be doing introductions. That's perfectly fine, especially for the first time here. Feel free to branch out. I'm open to other things like sharing an amusing experience or a fun ride. Even something that happened where you might feel our community could gain some valuable insight about riding. Send it along to intrepidcommuter@comcast.net and let me take a look at it.

By the way, there's been several responses to my invitation to be added to the blog roll. When I get home on Monday I'll catch up on that task. I'm pleased that so many are reading and want to be associated with my blog!

Miles and smiles,

Dan






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3 comments:

Bryce said...

Regarding Sophie. Are your contemplating replacing her? And am
surprised there are so few of said model remaining especially with ABS.
here in Canada the federal government dictates if a motorcycle is available with ABS, then it is mandatory that only said machines
be sold in the country with ABS.
Ironically there are very few ST1300's seen, anywhere.
Suspect the cost factor is such that for a few more dollars, one may purchase a Goldwing.
And I might add the maintenance
costs on BMW machines tends to
be higher than comparable costs
for the Honda line of machines.
I have three friends who loved their BMW's however found the
service cost was often
four or times higher
than comparable costs for their
previously owned Goldwings.

American Scooterist Blog said...

My apologies for not having commented [lately] up to this blog. I've been reading and loving the new turn you've taken on your site. The stories from riders who've gotten this opportunity to share is wonderful!

I love the tales of the rides. Of people and their machines. The places they've been. Your comments add even more to the text making it even more fun to stop by and read something really good.

Dan, you've taken it to the next level and its great!

(You realize this is better than the motorcycle mags don't you... hehe)

Harv

Krysta in Milwaukee said...

I found out a couple weeks ago that I was wrong. One of my aunts had ridden a motorcycle while in college. And apparently she borrowed it from an uncle, so there were 2 riders in the family I didn't know about.