Thursday, September 20, 2007


Fall is coming to New England.
Acclimation is the process of becoming accustomed to a new environment. Hot and cold. The weather in New England changes faster than you can say “What I Did On My Summer Vacation”. When it comes to cold weather riding, I could use more time than that to get acclimated!

If the temperatures decreased slowly and steadily over time, it would be easier to become acclimated to the cold. But we all know that’s not the way it works. For a few August weeks it’s 90 degrees and sweat pours down my face inside the Shoei sun room I'm wearing. The following week I am double checking the vents on my riding coat, digging out the wind triangle, and beating the dust off the heavy weight gloves.

Last night, as the sun disappeared over the horizon, the temps dipped below 60. I felt chilled. I laughed at the idea of being chilled at 59 degrees; after all I’m a Rounder– a year round rider. I have ridden each and every month since February 2004. There are Rounder’s who revel in the cold. I would not be one of those riders. I’m in my creature comfort years, I revel in the hot shower that comes when I return home! Sometimes, during the winter months, I get in one or two rides under the winter sun. A ride in the sun, no matter the temperatures, it is what puts the smile on my face, just as sure as any winding river road will.

Summer is short and Fall sets in fast. There is no time to get acclimated. There is only time to get out and ride and learn to enjoy the chill! Ride on!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

As expected, one of Lisa's first assignments for English class was the timeless 'What I Did On My Summer Vacation" paper. The kids were asked to write 3 paragraphs. Lisa could hardly keep it to three pages. Here is slightly condensed version of her submission. When you are 12, things are very cool.
I can’t believe it; we’re already back to school! I had the most fun, busy, exciting, summer EVER! I was only home for three weeks! I did some usual things. But I did one very, very unusual thing that I will tell you about in a little while. I’m going to tell you what I did in the opposite order of which I did them. First the usual things. These are probably the top 3 things that people do in the summer.

I went to the YMCA Teen Adventure Camp for the last three weeks of summer. That was pretty fun, we all piled on a bus everyday and went on field trips. I think every
week I hung out with different people. My favorite field trip was going to Six Flags. We also went hiking at Pack Monadnock, visited the Flume Gorge and enjoyed a day at Canobie Lake Park.

I also visited my great-aunt on Cape Cod. My mom’s Aunt Louise lives in East Falmouth, along with her 14 year old deaf dog named Blue. Blue knows sign language! My friend and I went to the beach three times that week. That was really fun. I got a pretty good tan too. The last time we went, the water was rough and we were body-surfing the waves.

The week before visiting the Cape, my dad and I went camping. We stayed at a camp ground, on Lake Winnipesaukee for a week, and slept in a tent. My dad has a WaveRunner, which is a large jet-ski. There was a place to “park” your jet-ski near a small beach; I saw a big black blotch in the water. My dad thought it was tadpoles. I stuck my hands in the water and scooped some up, they were baby cat fish! They were so tiny.
They all swam under a bush, then I saw mommy. She was about 7 inches long, and she would circle the babies and chase away and other fish that got near the babies. Almost every night we had a campfire and made s’mores.

Now we get to the really interesting part. In the first 5 weeks of summer I went across the country… on a motorcycle… with my mother! 35 days, 9,000 miles, and 25 states. It was a life-changing experience and I learned more than I ever could from a social studies text book. It is hard for most people to grasp the magnitude of this trip. I hope these next paragraphs can help you.

Our destination for the first day was Ottawa, the capitol of Canada. We got in around 5pm. The next morning we toured Ottawa. We saw the
Parliament buildings. They were very old and beautiful. We also saw the U.S. and Kuwait Embassies. The U.S. Embassy had major security around it. We saw the Natural History Museum and an art museum. One thing that I thought was really interesting where the black squirrels!

Glacier National Park, Montana was one of our big stops. It was actually the cause of this whole trip. My mom went on a cross-country trip in 2004. She stopped at Glacier and just had to bring me. That day we left from Grand Forks, ND. I could
see the mountains off in the distance the whole day. From 350 miles away! They just got bigger and bigger until they were looming right over me. We went on a road that wound through the mountains, beside a river that was emerald blue. My mom had shown me pictures of her stop at Glacier, but it’s not the same, you can not grasp the feeling from a picture. You must see it to believe it!

We stayed in Glacier for 3 days. We went white water rafting one day, and that was really cool! Literally; the water was 35 degrees. It was in the
emerald blue water I mentioned. One afternoon we took a ride to the Hungry Horse dam. We stopped at a small area on the side of the road to look around. The mountains were awe-inspiring. I was standing on a cliff, contemplating what it means to human, when my mom took a picture. It turned out to be one of our best out of 2,000. I was watching hawks soar and float around the mountain and was thinking what it would be like to fly.

Lisa heads to the Pacific
Ok, we’ve made it to the other side. It took us 2 weeks to get to Oregon. We rode down the whole coast in one day. We stopped at a beach and collected some sand. I touched the water’s of the Pacific Ocean, so I could officially say I went sea to shining sea!

On July 3rd we stayed in West Yellowstone, in the town right out side the West entrance of Yellowstone National Park. It was in Montana. The next day we missed our bus tour so we toured the park on the bike, and rode a western stagecoach. When we first stopped for gas I was saying to my mother “I hope we see something cool today”; right on cue, a bison lumbers across the parking lot. It was defiantly cool! On the second day we were stopped in traffic because of three bison in the road. We also saw elk and moose but no bears.

Heading back east, we traveled to South Dakota for the Black Hills BMW motorcycle rally. We were riding in the hills, and all of sudden we turn the corner and we could see everything. We were riding along a cliff and I swear yo
u could see for at least 1,000 miles. It was amazing! And the rocks next to the road were red! It was beautiful! When it was time for the rally, about 150 motorcycles enjoyed a police escort into town. Main Street was closed off just for us.

In Wisconsin we went to the 35th Annual BMW MOA International Rally. We volunteered at the registration tent, looking up peoples’ names. When we were there we camped in a tent, I had my own tent. One night was really scary because of a storm with heavy rain and 30+ mph winds! We won two awards: Long distance two up- female. And I won second place for youngest female passenger

Leaving Wisconsin, we headed to our last big stop on the trip: Washington D.C. We only had one full day in the city, but it was a very good day. We saw the Capitol building which was special to me because I made the Capitol Building for my landmark project. We also saw the Washington monument, where 3 helicopters flew over us and one landed at the White House. It could have been the President! We visited one of the Smithsonian museums, the Natural History Museum. We saw the World War 2 Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and The Vietnam War Memorial. D.C. was one of my favorite stops.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Kiddo comments on trip

On April 30th, I sent Lisa a pre-ride quiz Upon her return, I decided to send it to her again to get some feedback on how things went, she finally got it back to me. Here are her unedited replies.
  1. I think the hardest part of the trip wasHOT days, uugh, sooo uncomfortable!

  2. I was a little concerned when…. There is a road in front of us that you can see for ever on. Or when it’s 2pm and Garmin says that you’ll be there at 6:30. Oh and the one time that some guy almost turned into us on the road; that was scary

  3. I think that riding all day on the motorcycle isboring. It definitely is when it’s like 12 hours. Shorter days are easier. I just don’t know how the Ironbutters do it!

  4. Some of the things I did when I got bored... listen to my music, sing Yellow Submarine, sleep. Yes I could sleep, I lean against the pack.

  5. After a long day on the road Iwanted to watch TV in the hotel or go to the pool

  6. Did Mom Have fun with you? Yes, most of the time.

  7. Did any of these fears come true?… (Get lost, crash, die, get mad at me, cancel the trip, drop Garmin, not be able to find a hotel)
    Well, I think you would know if you died, or any of that stuff. But we had a close encounter with the hotel thing.

  8. I really enjoyed seeingGlacier, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Crater Lake, everything. Everything, really no matter how boring was in a way interesting

  9. When we got to the rally I feltI don’t know, nothing special I guess. Excited to be there. Volunteering was fun. For anyone who is concerned; they need a better teen program in the future.

  10. Other thoughts and ideas not included above: This trip was a life changing experience for me. You look at the roads differently, you look at them and think, these are the roads that these people use, their commute their home. But unfortunately it is hard for most ‘non-rider’ people to understand the magnitude of this trip. I will be talking in school, or in class and say I went across the country on a motorcycle. And I could be saying I got a new pair of shoes, I get the same response from some people.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Rider in the Fog

Kevin picked up a new camera mount and had the opportunity to try it out this past weekend on our way to the Finger Lakes Rally.
You are watching me on the K75, but listening to the Road King. The fog was so thick I could barely see the car I was tailgating. Then all of a sudden it disappeared, I figured we must be at the hairpin turn. I'm thankful that this is a familiar road, I wasn't bothered by the fog.