Part 1: Trip ’12 (March)

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This is currently a collection of posts scattered through this site, I’m slowly going to put it all here in order. The trip was just over 3,000 miles on a 650cc 38hp Ural, for the first 1500 miles I had a Suzuki GS500 strapped to the sidecar chassis. This bit of craziness was how I jump started my sanity after spending close to 2 years bedridden. Left for the trip the same month I started walking again and started as a result of that, over burdening the bike, and Ural 650 parts supply issues, well it took me the same amount of time to get from Central MA to Savannah GA and back (all via state highways) as it did for Ewan McGregor and Charlie Borman to ride around the planet. Without further ado, here is what has been transposed so far.

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30 March – The Beginning
So I’m leaving today. Delays are over, I’ve replaced the clutch & brake cables & levers. All works very smooth now. I’ve packed my bags, charging batteries to everything with chargeable batteries. Bags are packed, camping equip & two jackets went into the old army barracks bag that Jim Williams (another of pop’s best friend’s) gave me maybe 10 years ago. The thing has been across country at least twice, maybe even three times (he might have given it to me for the trip Dad and I took to Mexico). Clothes, electronics, and a few other assorted bits (a bottle of Black Label I’m giving a friend) have gone into the new duffle that is apparently water proof – as vouched for by people I trust who actually have one and do a lot of motorcycling that includes it. In a little toolbag like you’d keep in your trunk I’ve got my meds, flashlight, waterproof socks, dish gloves to cover my own if it storms (which it will where I’ll be tomorrow). On the bike I have a toolbox that is bolted to the boards and padlocked that has actual tools in it, enough to pull the engine apart if need be. It also has my battery in it.

Today the roads I’ll be on assuming I don’t get lost are Routes 9, 202, and 44. Planning to end my day in upstate New York some place. Tomorrow it’s going to be wet, but by Sunday where I’ll be the temp is going to be in the 80s.

The major changes I spoke to earlier up the page, basically I realized I have a 15 year old Ural. I have to treat the trip and the bike like I treat my body – and plan accordingly. I don’t commit to things until the day of anymore. So I’m not going to lay out this scheduled mapped out trip. I don’t know how many miles I’ll be doing each day. I don’t know when my body will need a day off or when the Ural will need a day off. As a result of this I’m not mapping out ‘tomorrow’ till the night before.

Between my body and that bike, this whole trip is swinging on a hope and a prayer.

As to clothes, I’m bringing 3 pairs of pants (flannel lined jeans, regular jeans, regular pants), 3 t-shirts, 3 pairs of socks including the waterproof, a few different ideas of what constitute heavier shirts, and the 3 jackets.

The jackets consist of:
Belstaff, light waxed cotton, good for hotter than hell with or without rain.
Vanson, heavy leather jacket, good for cooler climates, serious protection against any weather that isn’t hot.
Carhartt, the coveralls I wear late fall – early spring. They are waterproof, warm, and, well, coveralls.

At any one time, 2 can be stashed into the barracks bag, by the time it’s t-shirt weather I’ll be in a t-shirt. Never shorts though, never on a bike. Not that cotton pants will do jackshit for me in a crash, but its the principle of the thing. Also to be fair I own and wear cowboy boots year round unless its the dead of summer when they get replaced by my Robinson Cruso costume, the beat to hell 18 year old sandals, the various cutoff shorts made from SJ dress pants destroyed at stage crew 10-14 years ago, and my wide selection of worn out t-shirts, most of which are between 10-20 years of age. But thats just me, I don’t stop wearing something until it is literally destroyed or falling apart.

I have been wearing that same pair of Redwing leather boots since sophomore year of Saint John’s High School. That means they have been to the Grand Canyon, they went to Mexico when dad and I went, they went cross country with Stevie & I, they went to Phoenix (and California technically) by motorcycle. They went through every bike I have ever owned. They have been a part of every theater production I have done since ‘Crazy for You’ in either late 1999 or early 2000. They have been patched and re-soled dozens of times. Thats the nifty thing about owning the same clothes for years on end, you can wear them and think of the places you have been and the things you have done wearing them. I find they can be better than a photograph.

That pair of shorts over on the chair were once the new pants I destroyed at stage crew a week after mom bought them for me my freshman year when I was re-spraying the faces on the magic coins between the first and second night shows, and the fucking wind shifted.

That wool jacket over on the other chair I got my junior or senior year at SJ. It has been under every car I have ever owned, I have worn it 3 seasons like clockwork, sometimes 20 hours a day, since I got it – and it still looks almost like new. The wool vest on top of the chair my father bought because his grandfather had one just like it (made by the same company). He bought that when I was 19, he wore it regularly in the winter until he died when I was 23, I am now 28 and I wear it regularly in the winter.

Those jeans on the floor are what I had on when I laid the Guzzi down in drizzle at 45mph, most of you know that story, across the street from a graduation party… good times. Actually wonderful memories, I think back and laugh every time I put them on, I know them because Brent had to cut the seam down by one boot an inch on either side because they’d not fit past my swollen knee.

I love shit like that. I love things that have stories, and I love things that remind me of stories.

At any rate I don’t know where I’ll be sleeping tonight, I don’t know if I’ll have the web. I do know that I’m going to have to finish packing (laptop), figure out how to strap I want to strap shit down, and which bags should go where in regards to weight distribution. I adjusted the way the GS is strapped down yesterday and I think it works better now. I’ll take a few pics and post them up tonight or tomorrow night, or whenever I have web again.

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