The Russ & Donnie Road Trip - Part 1

Road Trip Background

Russell James Warne is my friend … my best friend! If you have someone in your life that you can call your best friend … you know what a rare and precious gift it is to have a relationship like that in your life. We grew up as teenagers in Berkeley/Oakland California circa 1969. Like many kids we loved motorcycles even back then. Who wouldn’t with “Then came Bronson” on TV and “Easy Rider” in the theaters extolling the adventure and excitement of motorcycles and the lure of the open road. We often sat around at each other’s house dreaming and thinking about taking some kind of motorcycle road trip ourselves someday together. Just two wild and crazy guys on motorcycles looking for adventure on the open road. Seemed like a simple enough thing to do at the time but as is often the case life can, more times than not, get in the way of living your dreams. Fast forward to 2011 approximately 42 years later and we find that dream never really died in either of us. In fact, that childhood dream is the genesis of this particular road trip that is finally going to become a reality although a slightly abbreviated version.

Russ still lives in California, has a home in Tracy and rides a 2009 Triumph Bonneville. I live in Dover, Tennessee and for this road trip will be taking my 2011 Suzuki V-Strom. Plan is for me to depart Dover, Tennessee on May 20th and head west to California via Kansas City, Missouri and Rapid City, South Dakota arriving in Tracy, California at the end of May. Russ and I will huddle and make our final prep before we both depart for 1 week on the open road together exploring Northern California and Oregon before returning to Tracy, California around June 8th. From there I will then ride back to Tennessee arriving back to my home in Dover mid June.

I will have my SPOT device on for showing our location and routes on a map and as normal will be taking pictures and writing a daily journal of this road trip and posting to my web page. Please tag along if you would like … for us it’s going to be the ride of our life and a childhood dream come true. What a blessing to be able to do this and to have the opportunity to share not only our time, the road, our lives and our memories while doing something we both love to do … ride motorcycles … and we also get to do it as best friends should … riding together … finally after 42 years.

Thursday - May 19’ 2011

Ok ... so what ... I left a day early. I couldn’t help it ... the more I waited the more I fretted over the weather and my new bike “on the road long distance” anxiety grew. Got her packed up and ready to roll. Yes, I know the packing job sucked but I’m new at carrying this much “stuff” with me so hopefully I’ll get better. The hard-bags are not as big as the ones on the Wing and after awhile packing and repacking I came to appreciate the size of the ones on the Wing.
Can’t get to everything easily but I have every thing right ... or so I thought. As with most Road Trip or vacations (for regular folks :-) it wouldn’t be a trip if you didn’t forget something you need and lose something you value. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately for me I got both of these things out of the way on day one.

Of course the first realization that overtakes me is that I forgot to pack my rain gloves. Of all the stuff to forget after worrying about the weather you’d think that would have been at the top of my list but instead it was one of those things I thought to myself was a given to bring. It was not. Oh well ... maybe it wouldn’t rain the entire trip was my fleeting thought at rationalizing but I knew better.

I headed west to shoot over to the Missouri Boot Hill area and then followed highway 60 west into Springfield stopping along the way to rest and call my bud in Kansas city to let him know my arrival time. My little blue tooth ear piece wasn’t working but instead of tucking it safely away in my pocket I sat it on top of my tank bag as I continued the conversation with the phone to my ear. Of course my little blue tooth device was black ... my tank bag was black and evidently my memory is also a black hole where stuff goes in but doesn’t always come out when you need it. You know the ending to this story ... I finished up my conversation mounted backup and off I went not realizing until about 200 miles later my blue tooth device was missing. Heavy sigh. Guess I should feel lucky with knowing that I did have it for two years which is actually a worlds record for me.

On the weather front I seem to have made a good choice with my route and departure time as while some clouds were around the day was excellent over all with some blue skies mixed in. I also had a little wind but not much. I like to think of it as a “training” wind as it gave me a chance to see how the little Wee bike would handle. It did fine and even the load didn’t seem to be a problem either and wasn’t that noticeable unless I leaned back and felt the two bag behind me. As it turned out is was a much needed back rest on occasion.

Although the bike did well and gave me confidence the little thing can cover the distance my body didn’t fare so well. This was my longest day riding the Wee (560 miles total this day) but after about 400 miles not only did my back hurt my legs felt to cramped. I gave in around 4:00 p.m. and took a couple of Alve to ease the pain and pressed on making Kansas City area around 7:30 p.m. Almost 12 hours on the road today. At 60 years old I’m beginning to wonder if I’m just too old for this stuff ..... NOT

Resting tonight at my buddy Robert’s house just outside Lone Jack. As I type this I hear rain and thunder outside as it’s pouring as a front moves through today (Friday). Supposed to be better by tomorrow which is when I plan to head southwest trying to circumvent the massive low pressure system to my west. Will have to wait until July to see my daughter in South Dakota.

I did receive some wonderful news just prior to leaving on this road trip. Both of my kids serve in the U.S. Air Force (as did Dad for 20 years) and I found out my son made Master Sergeant and is getting promoted. Made it on his first attempt at around the 12 years point. Very proud. My daughter is a Staff Sergeant and is starting a new career and assignment at Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City South Dakota. Life in the military is hard and challenging but they are both doing extremely well. Nothing makes a Dad prouder as he roams around the country.

No riding on Friday but beer with friends is a high priority :-) Will pick up the journey on Saturday when I depart

Saturday - May 21’ 2011

Friday it stormed pretty good in the KC area but it didn’t matter I wasn’t on the road this day. Instead lunch and beers with some really good friends were the order of the day and well into night ... ok ... and just a tad bit into the wee hours of the next day as well. A great time was had by all and it reminds one that the finer things in life can be as simple as breaking bread with friends and sharing a brew. My thanks to my bud Robert for hosting me for this stay.

Morning came quick and I was up and on the road by 7:45 a.m. although my head felt just a tad bit out of shape but overall not bad considering. Cloudy start to the day but as I rolled out of Kansas City area heading southwest by late morning early afternoon the clouds gave way to a spectacularly beautiful day and more than justified my decision to re route back to the south
If I didn’t know any better I would say those clouds look like they were just painted and placed in the sky. Super beautiful day in paradise on the open road. But as with any paradise there’s alway seems to be a villain lurking about somewhere to spoil things and today that villain was “The Wind” pronounced like “Da Bears” :-)

“Da Wind” in Kansas is as legendary as the flat as a pancake landscape devoid of anything other than the horizons for miles on end. I have to admit I don’t think the wind ever stops blowing in Kansas. Least not the times I’ve rolled through the state, which has been many. I think I would have been disappointed if when I got to Kansas there wasn’t gale force winds. It’s a good thing I had some “training wind” the other day because mother nature was bringing it today ... all day I battled the strong winds and on a motorcycle that’s a battle you can’t afford to lose. All went good and I muddle through just thankful that at least I wasn’t battling rain and storm conditions further north. I plotted along taking frequent breaks when side roads looked enticing.
Part of my route took me on to the Kansas Turnpike and the ensuing toll to use the road. I don’t know about you but for me paying to ride on a road is just wrong but I wanted to get south in a hurry so I ponied up the cash. Sure my tax dollars has paid for this turnpike many times over but guess everyone needs a revenue generator. I’m of the notion that Kansas should actually be paying us motorists that traverse the state in those gale force winds some compensation bucks to make up for the poor gas milage we all get fighting those winds ... but we all know that’s not going to happen although a nice thought.

Made it into Tucumcari, New Mexico tonight but not camping yet. Still waiting for a better conditions. I don’t see how a tent can stay up in these winds. Covered a lot of ground on the Wee today and I don’t have to look at the odometer to know that as my legs and knees have become the focal for my anguish after 13 + hours of riding today covering 675 miles. Think I pushed it a little too far today and plan shorter distance in the coming days. Unfortunately, it looks like I will have to remain in the Southwest as I continue west. I had hoped for improving conditions to allow me to head back north and go through Colorado and Utah (both spectacular states to ride in) but that’s not to be. My back pain issue has been resolved with a little creative padding of the bags behind me but until I get that new Russell-Day-Long seat the pain in my bent knees and my rear end are going to have to be endured. Shorter days will help but it does as the song says “Hurts so good”.

Bed is going to feel good tonight and I may get a late start in the morning as I’m discovering that my bike packing skills still needs a lot of work to find a way to pack so I can get to the stuff I need when I need it. Too many essential and often used items packed to far out of easy retrieval. Don’t ask me why.

Hoping the bad weather continues to stay north of me tomorrow as I skirt the northern part of New Mexico and Arizona pushing westward.

Sunday - May 22’ 2011

Today ... Today was the day! Finally something on the horizon besides the horizon itself ... yes ... finally I’m not in Kansas any more and now there’s something to see ...
Highway 104 - Tucumcari New Mexico about 100 miles back that way

In addition there were some great roads to ride ......
This one almost brought a tear to my eye. Both when I took it and when I rode it. Put this one in the category of “Why I Ride” a motorcycle. It looks like what I would imagine a road to heaven for motorcyclists would look like. I’d like to think I’m getting a peek preview. Check out those clouds ... amazing.

Made it up to Taos and on out west on 64 dodging rain and thunder squalls most of the day.
Way more sunshine than clouds but the clouds that did develop were intense. Got a little dicey around 6 pm but I pressed on any way into Bloomfield and only got spit on once or twice but missed most of the rain. It’s always a little scary sometimes when the road your on doesn’t wind the correct way to get you through the rain or storms you see all around you. You just got to follow it and trust it’s going to eventually lead you to blue skies and or a safe haven. Got the rain gear on just in case.

Thump ... Thump ... Thump goes the engine of the Wee ... running good. If I didn’t know better I think we’re bonding. Give me highway pegs and a new seat and it may be hard to get me off this thing ... and I haven’t even put it through it’s paces off the beaten path yet. Fun times to come there.

Resting in Bloomfield, New Mexico tonight. Only 410 miles 8.5 hours for todays riding BUT today’s riding was quality riding time at it’s finest despite the sore saddle and I loved every minute of todays run.

Weather still unsettled and looks as though Da Wind is going to be making a repeat performance the next few days. In addition I’m going to have to move more south if I want to at least stay out of the rain. What is with this crazy weather? Sure adds to the excitement though.

Monday - May 23’ 2011

Decided to continue west along the Northern Arizona and Utah border as long as the weather continued to not produce any rain. That held true for most of the day but the wind was unrelenting in its ferocity. Tough to enjoy the ride when enduring that constant threat. None the less, I pressed on out of New Mexico and enter Arizona. Here’s a sure sign you’re getting into the magical landscape that is Arizona.
Think this was along Highway 160 just after crossing into Arizona from New Mexico.

Headed over to Page and along the lake Powell areas and dam
and then on to riding along the Grand Staircase-Escalante along route 89 below

Heading north it was time to climb the 10,000 foot pass through the Dixie National Forrest on Highway 14 over to Cedar City. Lots of snow up here and Navajo Lake still seems like a winter wonderland.
Was cool but not to bad and the road were fine with no sign of snow plows :-)

Ran out of steam early today and got in around 400 miles in 9 hours. Resting tonight in Cedar City, Utah.

Tuesday - May 24’ 2011

As I was packing the bike this morning getting ready to ride out from the motel I was reflecting on how fortunate it was that I had decided not to camp last evening.
It had stormed some over night and there was fresh snow on the hills all around the area. It is late May right? Thought maybe I was off by a season. For right now all the camping gear I brought is just getting used as a back rest.

Wasn’t sure where I’d be at the end of this day as there was over 700 miles to my nieces house in Vacaville but I really wanted to get over the Sierra Mountains on a day that was clear. Yet another storm moving into the West tomorrow. Decided to just press on and make the decision when I got closer to the California border.
For now it was nothing but me and the long lonesome highways of Nevada
Solitude can be a great thing out here although just a little bit scary at times. Least until that engine fires up and you realize you don’t have to hoof it after all. Cars go by rarely so you just about wave to anyone or anything that you see that comes by. Kind of an acknowledgement and connection that makes you feel like there is someone else in the universe ... I’m not alone ... Thankfully.

If you’ve never ridden through Nevada you have never had the pleasure of knowing that God awful feeling that ... hummmm maybe I should have filled the tank up in that town I passed 50 miles back while you just zoom by a sign that says next services 150 miles. Yikes ... Oh wait no worries this bike gets great gas milage and I was well within making that stretch ... or so I thought. Well, as it turns out the “Da Wind’ robbed me the gas milage I was expecting and by the time I was within 20 miles of Tonapah I was sweating bullets watching both the gas icon flash and the last bar of gas indicator flashing as well. A first for me on this bike so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately ... I made it but not by much at all. Never a dull moment out here.

Having survived the gas crunch the afternoon became quite the enjoyable ride as I approached the California Border and the mighty Sierra Mountains ... Beautiful.
As I approached Mono Lake and the junction where I was planning to hit 120 to go over the mountains I stopped in for gas and food at a strategically located gas stations there. I enjoyed $ 4.79 a gallon gas .... a $ 5.00 hot dog on a stale bun and to top it off the news that several of the passes over the mountain, including this one was closed. With all the snow I guess they can’t keep all the passes open all the time.
Bummer .... my butt was sore having already gone 400 plus miles but I really felt it critical that I get across today ... no matter what the cost. The next pass that was open was about 80 miles north to go across on Highway 88 which is what I did after mustering up the courage to get back on that rock of a seat.

Highway 395 North and Highway 88 West were beautiful riding roads and followed beautiful rivers for most of the way that made for some great places to take a break along side of the road
Going over the several summits along Highway 88 most of the lakes I saw looked pretty much like this one below... Cold and uninviting.
I pressed on and finally arrived safely at my Niece’s house in Vacaville California around 8:30 p.m. as the sun was setting on a very long day.

New one day distance record for the Wee .... 710 miles ... 13+ hours .... you don’t have to say it ... I’ll say it for you .... I’m crazy when it comes to riding ... I know.

No web updates for the next couple of days as I stay here and get some maintenance performed on the Wee. It has a total of 4,200 miles on it now .... 2,700 miles completed on this road trip so far alone. Going to get the oil and filter swapped out along with some chain cleaning, adjusting and lubing. Will have to check the tires as well. They don’t last long and I might have to get a set some time during this trip. Getting my Russell Day Long seat built on Friday so will scoot up to Shasta Lake for that and will probably pick this journal back up then.

Wednesday - May 25’ 2011

Today was a down day for maintenance at my niece’s house. Got the oil & filter changed out and got the chain cleaned up and lubed. With 4,200 miles on the bike now I decided to make the switch to a full synthetic - Shell Rotella 5w-40. Tires look worn but still enough tread for a while yet although I am thinking I may have to get another set perhaps before heading back east home in about 10 days from now. Guess that will also depend on how many miles Russ and I put on for our 1 week ride together.

Thursday - May 26’ 2011

Headed up to Shasta Lake today around noon in prep for my appointment with RDL for the new seat. Pretty much stayed on the freeway to get there faster. Cloudy and below normal temps don’t exactly promote the desire to explore much so I was on the fast track to get there. That was until I hit a severe traffic jam caused by construction blocking one lane of the freeway. Both lanes of traffic were backed up for miles and barely creeping along. Very frustrating ... that was until I realized .... this is California ... I can split lanes as it’s legal in this state. In the past when I was on road trips in California on the Wing I didn’t feel I could safely do it because of the large footprint of the Wing. However with the Wee I figured I’d give it a shot even though it also has saddle bags it is more nimble and sleek than the wing.

I took a deep breath and I was off gliding down the center between the two lanes of traffic filled with cars and trucks of all sizes inching along. It was wild. I could almost feel the envy of every driver stuck in those cages as I zipped by their doors and windows literally inches from the sides of their vehicles. It was exhilarating and dangerous all at the same time. Some cars that saw what I was doing in their rear view mirror were accommodating and moved over slightly to give me more room. Other were not so nice and seemed annoyed by the maneuver. A few times when two trucks were side by side it was really scary going in-between as it felt like two walls were closing in on me. Often the entry into two trucks side by side was larger than the exit up front but I squeezed through. There were a few times I had to stop and wait for the hole to widen just a little but once it did I scurried through. I did this for about 2 to 3 miles of traffic before I was at the front of the line and could merge back to the regular lane to get through the actual construction part of the backup. I loved it. Too bad every state doesn’t allow that for motorcycles. Definitely not a maneuver I would recommend for everyone riding a motorcycle, especially the squeamish, but I found it way better than enduring the stop and go bumper to bumper traffic not to mention avoiding a hefty delay.

Resting in Shasta Lake, California tonight and going to get the new seat built tomorrow.

Friday - May 27’ 2011

Up early this a.m. at the Fawndale Lodge in Shasta Lake, California. This was a very nice place that the folks at Russell Cycle Products (RCP) recommended. It was about 3 miles north of their location and they were great folks and the cabin I was in had a carport so felt really good to have the bike under a roof for any bad weather that was to occur overnight.
As you can see from the wet pavement in the picture above rain is still in the forecast everyday it seems. In fact there was a tornado touch down near Chico just a day earlier. Tornadoes in California ??? and to think I was only worried about earthquakes while I was out here. Seems the tornadoes and bad weather are following me from Tennessee.

Got to RCP right at 8 a.m. and they were ready for me. Met my seat builder, Chris, and Kim who handled all the paperwork, orders and pictures of my riding position which were the first order of business. Once that was done and my expectations explained they performed the initial build of my seat and by 11:30 they had it roughed out and we did some test sittings with the new unfinished seat and made some adjustments for the seat pocket position and backrest. After that they loaned me a spare stock seat so I was able to explore a little of the area in the afternoon as the sun finally peeked out.

Grab a deli sandwich and headed over to Whiskeytown Lake just west of Redding. Very serene to have lunch overlooking the lake and enjoy the smell of the plants and flowers blooming. No, I don’t know what these plants were but that didn’t stop me from enjoying them. Many bees were doing the same without that same knowledge. If someone knows please enlighten me :-)

After lunch I went up behind the lake and found a great gravel road that continue up the little mountain to the left in the picture above (somewhere I never could have gone on the Wing) and stopped and took these pictures of the same lake from high up.
Gorgeous ... such wonderful terrain and motorcycle roads abound everywhere around here. So nice to be able to explore gravel and unimproved roads now while traveling on the Wee.

By 3:30 p.m. I was on my way back to RCP to see the finished product and was getting more excited by the minute. Here’s my builder Chris with the finished product on the bike. The seat looks absolutely stunning on the bike.
For those curious the cost was a cool Grand. Yes I know ... let me spell it out for you. $ 1,060.02. Crazy by most normal people’s standard but I’m not normal people in this regard. To someone like me that plans to sit on that thing for miles on end and hopefully for many years to come ... it’s a heaven send. The fit felt good but I wouldn’t know for sure until I put some miles on it. RCP has a guarantee that allows you to stop back by for tweak if needed. For the record this is what I got for my Grand

Solo Half Moon design
Full Leather
Back Rest
Rear Pouch
Rain Cover
Ride in Appointment Fee ($ 80.00)

I was out of their by 4:00 p.m. and headed back south to Vacaville and my nieces house again 160 miles south. This was a good initial test and it didn’t take long to feel the world of difference it made to have FULL support under my butt and the backrest along my backside. No stops ... went straight there and had little pain. So much better than sitting on that wooden horse of a stock seat. So far I’m very pleased with the look and the soft feel and support. Will be playing with the backrest position some to find the ideal spot but for now count me as another believer in RCP Day Long Saddles. Truly beauty and function all rolled into one fine product.

I even arrived back in Vacaville in time for us to take in a sampling of the Vacaville Fiesta Days celebration that kicked off the Memorial Day weekend enjoying the sounds of the “Skynyrd Lynyrd” tribute band to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Sounded pretty good.
Tomorrow it’s off to Clear Lake, California in soft comfy style.

Saturday & Sunday (Memorial Day Weekend) - May 28 & 29’ 2011

Tale of two days. Rain was again in the forecast Saturday as I prepared to head up highway 16 over to 20 and in the back way to Clearlake. No sooner than I pulled away from Vacaville I had to stop and put the weather battle gear on again to duke it out with the elements. This time it rained and it rained all the way there not to mention the wind and cold. The Wee did fine but I helped too by slowing down and taking it easy to make sure I arrive in one piece and there were no mishaps. Spent the night in Ukiah.

Sunday the sun came out finally and I had a good visit with my sister in the morning and then picked an alternate route back to Vacaville, retracing a route I travelled many times as a kid between the San Francisco Bay Area and Clearlake, in the afternoon. I went up over the mountain and into Calistoga and the Napa Valley wine country.
Once in the Napa Valley heavy traffic ensured (Too many wine tasters) so I abandon route 29 and instead headed over to highway 128 that took me around Lake Hennessey and Lake Berryessa and eventually back into Vacaville for one more night stay with my niece.
Love the rolling hills that are found throughout this area. I wonder if this tree above is worried?

Very few miles (about 140 each day) these past two days and I’m continuing to play with the new seat to find the optimum position for the backrest. Need to determine within the next week or so if I will need any adjustments by RCP prior to riding back to Tennessee. So far the new seat has eliminated pain in 3 areas. 1) Back pain 2) Butt soreness 3) Pain in my knees is gone from being bent at the wrong angle. For now I seem to be settling into the pocket more and more so will see.

Heading to Tracy, California Monday to hook up with Russ for our one week ride together. We will have one day, Tuesday, to sync up on which direction we head and check the bikes over before heading out. Will pick the journal back up once we hit the road together.

Monday - May 30’ 2011

I hadn’t planned on journaling anything today because ... well what can happen between Vacaville and Tracy California a total distance of about 75 miles? Well, nothing apparently as nothing did happened on that stretch but it’s what happen after I got there that may end up having a big impact on the remainder of this road trip and more importantly my one week ride with my buddy Russ.

I arrived at Russ’ house around 3:00 p.m. and Russ and Linda had not returned home yet from their Memorial Day Weekend get away and wouldn’t be home for a few more hours. Russ invited me to make myself at home and watch some TV and relax until they returned. Me ... watch TV? Mid afternoon while the sun was shinning outside and curvy road were all around to explore ... No Way ... I’m not watching TV. Instead I unloaded all my gear and took off to explore some of the hill roads just out side Tracy. All was good as I ran up and down a little road called J2 that connected Tracy to Livermore and over along Patterson Pass. Here are some pics I took at the top of Patterson Pass
After riding Patterson Pass for a while I started back down J2 to Tracy but for some reason as I passed by what is now called Carnegie SVRA which is an off road authorized area I pulled in to see if I could ride in for a while and maybe do just a little off road riding on fairly easy gravel roads. Explained to the guard I had ridden here from Tennessee and that as a kid I used to come here and dirt ride off road here and would he mind letting me just ride in for a little while without paying the daily fee. He agreed and off I went to one end of the park on a nice gravel road. I then went to the other end of the park again along a nice gravel road. Now it gets interesting.

I noticed at the other end of the park no one was around and there was what I thought was a nice little area just next to the gravel road that looked a little more challenging. Not sure what possessed me but I enter the area and almost immediately it became apparent this wasn’t a good idea. The good news is that I confirmed my skid plate works as I heard several rocks hit and I slide over it on a few mounds. The rocks were big and I was having a difficult time navigating through it almost dropping the bike once but was able to recover without going down. About that time the bad news kicked in as one of those large rocks I think got throw up and rather rudely introduced itself to my left foot right on the ankle. It smarted big time but I stayed up and made it safely back to the gravel road and stopped to check for any damage to the Wee and check out my foot. The bike was fine but my ankle wasn’t and was hurting pretty good. I tried to walk it off and thought I was ok after a few minutes and got back on the bike and left the park and continued on down J2 towards Tracy.

After about 5-10 minutes I started to feel queasy and very light headed. I wasn’t sure what was going on but it was clear to me that I had to pull over and pull over in a hurry and get off the bike. Fortunately, there was a gravel truck parking lot area and I pulled over turned off the bike and dismounted ok. I stood there and opened my tank bag and grab some water and no sooner than after one drink I passed out. The real bad news was that when I fell I fell towards the bike and knocked it over on the right side with me laying on top of it. I regained consciousness right away and got up and was able to pick up and right the bike. A motorist did stop that saw me collapse and asked if I needed help but by then I was ok ... or so I thought ... so he went on his way. I surveyed the damage to the bike ... scuffed saddle bag ... scratched crash bars. I was upset but was more concerned at that point with my own well being. I got away from the bike and walked over to a chain link fence and was standing next to it when I fainted again right next to the fence. Again I regain consciousness right away and just stayed seated from that point on resting with my back along the fence. Eventually after about 10 minutes I felt better and was able to stand and walk around some to see if things had returned to normal. Another 15 minutes and I was fine and felt I could ride again. I rode the remaining 2 miles to Russ’ house. Once There and I explained to Russ what had happen he then noticed a dent in the tank on the right side where evidently a rock had been in the right place when it fell and indented the tank. Wonderful! What a strange way this whole thing went down. I’m fine now and resting at Russ’ house with a big old ice pack on my left ankle and the bike is in the garage with 3 distinct marks. I can live with the saddle bag scuff and the crash bar scratches ... but it’s the dent in the tank that’s killing me.

The only thing I can figure is that the pain was so intense (maybe my shifting contributed to that) that my body wanted to shut down and that it did. It just took about 10-15 minutes after the rock hit my foot for it to do so. I have never had something like that happen to me before in my life nor have I had even a remotely similar experience. Here’s a shot of the scene where I stopped and the fence in the back ground.
Sooooo ... some of the million dollar questions are did I break or crack anything in my foot and will I still be able to ride and shift for my road trip with Russ and my eventually return to Tennessee. Why couldn’t it have been the right foot?

So few lessons learned

1) Wear boots that protect the ankle. (I was wearing boots but not enough protection around the ankle)

2) When getting off your bike when you feel dizzy. STEP AWAY AND GET AWAY FROM THE BIKE .... zeeezzzz ...wish so much I had done this.

3) Stick to safe gravel roads and not the rougher terrain. Know your limitations and the bikes for that matter (I knew this but seeing this place again I couldn’t resist the urge to dial it up a notch and push it and I paid for it. Maybe it was all those childhood memories of days out here riding all around these hills that egged my mind on ... course I was young then and now I’m only young in my mind)

So like any good stubborn old man I resisted going to the emergency room and plan to evaluate everything tomorrow. I hope so much this doesn’t spoil our plans for our 1 week ride together or my ability to ride back to Tennessee.

Oh Well ... is what it is and you get what you get .... Wonder if I can shift with a cast on my foot? Can crutches be used to shift with? I’m making light of the situation but am extremely thankful I didn’t faint while riding the bike ... that would have been really bad and would have definitely ended things. Like I said before ... never a dull moment out here on or off the road.

Hummmmmm .... watching TV this afternoon sounds pretty good now ...

Stay tuned

Tuesday - May 31’ 2011

Good news ... X-rays of my ankle and foot today were negative and as long as I take it easy for a few weeks it should be just fine. That was a great relief. Of course, I didn’t tell the doctor I was going to be riding a motorcycle for the next couple of weeks using it. I know it’s going to be sore for the rest of the ride and will take a little more attention while shifting but I’m sure not going to let this stop or hinder my ride plans with Russ or the return ride back home to Tennessee.

On the bike front after 5,000 + miles the rear Bridgestone Trail Wing is about toast and the front is not as worn but decided to replace it also. Found a shop in Hayward, California about 35 miles away and they are going to put a new set of tires on for me tomorrow. May be raining tomorrow but will make that run anyway and get that done. This postpones our 1 week ride together for our road trip and additional day until Thursday.

Weather ... still up in the air and could turn in to a ride time decision as to which way we go.

Will pick journal back up on Thursday ...

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