Saturday, June 5, 2004
A little bit cool today, and cloudy, but no rain expected. I made a quick breakfast. We had to take care of a couple of things around the house, and then we were on our way. Sixties today; it might get close to 70, so I wore my chaps and some extra layers under my leather.
First off, we had to stop for gas. We only went up one block and then around to the gas station. I usually prefer two blocks, just to allay my jitters about going out. Scott wanted to stop at his friend’s house. There were several ways we could go; we pretty much ruled out the freeway. We wound up going up Brookpark Rd. to the Metroparks (Big Creek Parkway) and followed the parkway to Bagley Rd., then we took Bagley to Rocky River Drive. It freaked me out a little just going out into Saturday midday traffic, but Scott was with me and I did okay. I made sure I was paying close attention to my surroundings and the road. Scott said something at a light about the fact that once you get used to riding in this kind of traffic, nothing bothers you. If you say so, Scott. I wasn’t petrified, but I was in the neighborhood.
We got over to John’s house, but no one was home. We decided to go through Rocky River Reservation, but the road was closed. Instead, we went the other way, across Bagley, and on around the Emerald Necklace. The Emerald Necklace is actually a string of Metroparks parkways that skirt the outlying areas of Greater Cleveland. We rode it all the way to Brecksville. These were nice gentle curves and a few mild hills. We stopped to call home to make sure our son Matt was up for work. Then we headed on home.
We took the parkway to Riverview Road down in the Cuyahoga Valley, and then headed up the big hill to Rt. 82. I did okay. Instead of turning onto 82, we kept going on Riverview, a stretch that I often refer to as lower Riverview, which made me a little nervous because it gets a little hairy, curvewise, through there. Again, I did okay. That stretch ends at Brookside Rd, which is just a short hop over to Pleasant Valley Rd. We took Pleasant Valley back east slightly and went down the ramp to Canal Rd. I was a little slow on the ramp, which curves around sharply at the bottom; Scott just zooms through it. We took Canal home; Brookpark to State, and then to our street, and then a rolling right into our driveway— with lots of people out on porches and stoops watching. Yikes!
About 50 miles today; I figured out my mileage and I’m getting close to 80 miles to the gallon! We went out to eat, came home and watched Smarty Jones lose the Belmont. Then we went over to Mom’s to pick up the picnic table (for John). We came home and did some work around the house. Scott was rearranging the garage and I was putting away some of the stuff from Mom’s house. It’s really painful seeing all that stuff over and over again. Plus going over to the house and walking around. The house is nearly empty, but I can still hear all the same old creaks— like when I walk up the two steps into the kitchen from the side door. I still can’t believe Mom’s not there anymore. It’s so hard.
Sunday, June 6, 2004
We got up and got out earlier today. I checked the newspaper right away to make sure there was an Open House being held at my Mom’s house today. Sure enough, 2 to 4. I made a quick breakfast and got ready to go. It was already close to 80 degrees when we left out at around 11 o’clock. We thought maybe John would ride with us but we never did hear back from him. We headed down Canal Rd.; our usual route down to Akron. We stopped at the BP station as usual and we saw a couple taking a break on their bikes. They— especially the guy— kind of stared at me as I pulled in. Okay, I ride a 250, and it sounds funny, but hey, I’m out there. This is a big feat for me, little does he know… The gal had a nice Harley— some kind of softail, with a sharp yellow-with-purple paint job. We watched them leave. She duck walked a little and dragged her feet just about all the way to the driveway edge. She had heels on her boots (you’re really not supposed to ride in heels because they hinder your foot controls) and Scott made a comment that she had on full leathers (on a really warm day) and a helmet, and she’s gonna’ need it. When she pulled out, she got going well and got her feet up right away, but she was really stretched to the max to reach her drag bars. He also noticed that she reached over with her right hand to turn on her turn signal. Somebody didn’t take a safety class.
We skipped the train station today and just turned left onto Akron-Peninsula Rd. I’m having a real problem today with my throttle hand going numb. Rock hard numb. It’s costing me some speed to try to correct it. It eventually subsides. It seems that the second day of riding on the weekend, my hand gives me fits by the time we go under Pleasant Valley Rd (on Canal). We went all the way down to Akron, passing up Bath Rd., and started back up Riverview.
When we got to Rt. 303, instead of turning right to go back to Old Route 8, Scott just kept going on Riverview— the stretch of Riverview we’d been avoiding. It’s pretty curvy-hilly in places. I’ve done pieces of if at a time; this was right down the big hill though, the one I’m afraid of stopping on going the other way. I did fine though.
As we putted along, it became apparent that the sky was getting kind of dark. We turned onto the parkway just before going up the big hill at the Rt. 82 end. We stopped at the pavilion in case we would need shelter, and to take a break and hit the rest room. I mentioned maybe we could snake the parkway again to get home, but Scott said he needed gas. We decided to keep going on the parkway, to where it ends at 82; there’s a BP station over that way. We stopped for gas and then headed up Brecksville Rd. (Rt. 21) towards home. I was hoping he’d take Pleasant Valley over to Broadview or to Canal, but he didn’t. I feared we would take it to Brookpark. Thing is, 21 goes over Brookpark and there’s a cloverleaf to get down to Brookpark Rd. I got through that okay, but I accidentally wound up in neutral at the bottom. Oops. Wouldn’t you know, Scott pulls out with traffic coming. I would scarcely have made that turn anyway, but the neutral thing stopped me dead in my tracks. I had to wait for more traffic and more traffic, until I pulled out with some cars coming and grinded it to get going. The cars in front of me cleared away and I was back behind Scott.
As we were headed homeward on Brookpark, Scott flips his signal on and bears right onto the ramp that goes up to Schaaf Rd. I thought he would just take it to Tuxedo, but he kept going. I realized he was headed for his friend Jim’s house and I worried about the driveway. Still don’t like driveways. I pulled in okay, barely stopping on the apron to get around Scott. He pulls in, in the middle of the driveway and just stops. No room for me, behind him OR on either side of him. We stayed and talked a while. It was still gloomy but now we were close to home.
We headed out towards Broadview Rd. and made a 45 degree left turn onto Broadview and headed down to our street. Scott almost cut me off changing lanes; my reactions were good. He wants me to stay close to him, right up on him, but this is precisely why I don’t want to.
When we turned onto our street, the mailman was waiting to pull out. It’s Sunday, but he lives in the neighborhood. Scott waved, but I couldn’t. I was turning and I have to look where I want my bike to go, and I couldn’t get my hand free. I needed it just then. We came home and I turned my bike around to go back out. We decided to get some subs and I figured I’d work on my class prep this evening. Scott was pooped too and figured he’d work on some stuff out in the garage, but he never did. Just as well he rest up for work tomorrow.
I put on about 60 miles today. This is really starting to be fun.
Tuesday, June 8, 2004
Hot sticky day today. I went to my Fundamentals class tonight at West Campus. I could have gotten out at 7:45 but I stayed to try to work out a problem with my Class Folder. Anyway, I come home and as usual I’m seeing all these people out on their bikes on this warm humid evening. I pull into the driveway and Scott has his bike out. He comes out right away and says he’s been working all evening clearing out the garage to put stuff out for trash pickup. He wants to go for a ride and cool off. I just looked at him; I was dumfounded. He repeated that he wanted to go out and cool off. I was thinking "what about me?" but I didn’t say anything. I backed out and parked and turned the other way. I don’t know if I was mad (I guess I was a little) or jealous. Probably a bit of both. He pulls up along side the car and I roll down the window. He asks if I want him to come back for me in a little while. I smiled and said "sure". He asked if I wanted to ride with him or do I want to ride my bike. I said I wanted to ride mine. Natch.
So off he went and I got ready. No time for jitters, really. Maybe a little. He came back and I wasn’t quite ready yet, so he got my bike out and started it. I usually prefer to do that because it gets me ready for my ride, but it was late. I could understand where he was coming from.
We headed out and took our usual quiet way out to Brookpark Rd. It was almost dark when we left. We went down to Canal Rd. and turned left into the Cinemark complex, where Quaker Steak is and where bike night is held around here (on Wednesdays though). I heard a beep as I was going in and thought it was the driver behind me, but now the more I think about it, it sounded like a bike horn, not a car horn. I was going slow, but I think it was appropriately slow for a parking lot. I followed Scott as he wound through the lot, over to the other end and out to turn onto Canal Rd to go back.
It IS different at night, and he took it easy. Heck, we’ve seen deer on that long stretch of Brookpark Rd. I was nervous about the darkness, worried about deer, etc. I wanted to come home and I didn’t. I didn’t want to go out in the country because of the possibility of deer; I think I could have handled the city better. It’s all still stressful and makes me nervous, but I WANT to do it! Anyways, we came back and Scott turned at W. 33rd to head into our neighborhood side streets. He turned a few more times and zig zagged up to W. 24th and headed down Russell (our street), and home. I did better coming (left) into the driveway than I ever have.
My first night ride. Not very far or very long, but a sweet little putt on my sweet little bike. I wore a long sleeved shirt and Joe Rocket. I only felt a cool spot going down into the little valley on Brookpark. The rest was balmy. And beautiful. I could see lit up bugs flying past me. Wild. A chosen few hit my face shield, which I hadn’t cleaned after the last ride. I usually do that before a ride and it gets any dust that has settled, too, but I just hadn’t had the time to spare tonight. I felt so cool out on my bike. Got some looks that night, I did. Maybe they just thought I was crazy for wearing Joe Rocket on such a warm evening, but somehow I don’t think that was it. I just felt so cool!
Saturday, June 12, 2004
We did some stuff around the house today, like vacuum the pool, etc. We ate breakfast and then decided to head out. Scott wanted to head down to Mrs. Yoder’s, our favorite restaurant down in Holmes county, in Amish country. He is so anxious to get out and ride more. He kept reminding me that this trip would be a sustained 55-60 mph. I said we could head out that way and see what happens. I knew in my heart that I wasn’t ready for such a ride, but I went anyway.
There was a detour problem early on. We would end up going over some really chewed up ground with gravel and holes and mud. I took it slow but I made it okay. We got back on Rt 94 somehow and headed on down to our destination. We stopped at our usual midway stop, a Dairy Mart gas station in Wadsworth. I say usual because we stopped there many a time on our way to Mrs. Yoder’s when I rode pillion with Scott on his bike. Today we were each on our own bikes and he was bugging me about the 55mph thing and I told him I was getting beat to death at 50mph. My glasses would bounce violently on my face! And, it’s hard to keep up that speed on rough roads, around curves, at my skill level. I was just starting to get comfortable on the slower roads. He’s rushing me again. I almost decided to come home, but instead I pressed on. I have to get used to this. Still, it seems like too big a step. With him, anyway. We headed out towards the street. I’m stopping and putting my feet down. He hovers and pulls out, with traffic coming. So there I was waiting for a shipload of traffic to move by so I could pull out. I hate when he does that!!! I pulled out and moved through the busiest traffic in Wadsworth, and eventually caught up. His excuse is that I should be able to do that, to assess the traffic and situation while rolling slowly at a driveway. Yeah, he does it very well now, but he didn’t always. It was a good while before he started doing that. I know. I was with him his first season riding. Sometimes he just expects me to all-of-a-sudden have all of this down pat. It just doesn’t work that way. I’ll just have to stick to my guns, I guess.
We stopped again at an ice cream place at Rt 30. I did better on that leg of the trip. The roads were better, for one. And two, I really did try harder. I will try to stay safe at all costs. Scott said that the roads get curvier and hillier from there on out. I also mentioned to him about the hovering. I reiterated that I do not yet possess the skill to do that. What I didn’t say was that it took him a LONG TIME before he started doing that. I can do it, sort of, but I won’t! It is unwise for me to do that at my skill level. Not even so much my skill level, but my experience level. This is where he had the audacity to say that you have assess things while you’re rolling. Hello! He should know I shouldn’t do that yet. I don’t mean to go off on another tangent here, but sometimes he gets me so discouraged. And mad.
I guess I did okay. I made it, didn’t I? We got there okay, taking three hours instead of two, and ate our dinner. I didn’t eat as much as usual; I don’t want to get sleepy on the way home. Well, I wouldn’t get sleepy, I just mean that I don’t want to be lethargic and slow on the long ride home.
On the way home, Scott was going slower, so I couldn’t do 55 if I wanted to. Not all of the curves are marked, so I take my clues from him. If he leans left, I know a left hand curve is over the next hill, if he leans right there’s a right curve coming up. He was taking it easy, so he was weaving back and forth. Playing. I had no idea what was ahead; I had no read on it because he was weaving. Quite exasperating.
We didn’t stop at Rt 30 on the way back, but we did stop in Wadsworth. He was kind of laughing about the whole thing. I didn’t say anything. We headed home from there. We would go to Rt 18 and hang a right, and then try to find State Rd, and then go left on State to head back North to Parma. A decent ride. He took it kind of easy.
Close to home, really close like above Snow Rd, he darted around a car that was about to stop to make a turn. I checked my mirror and I could not do the same, so I stopped behind the turning car. I headed the rest of the way home by myself. Some of these by-myself times are actually good in a way. It puts me out in traffic on my own. I headed up State Rd by myself, had to stop for a light at Lincoln, and then headed up to Russell. I turned into the driveway and shut off the bike. Scott said something about it not taking long for me to catch up. Apparently distracted, I forgot to put my bike in neutral and shut off the key. I usually don’t forget this.
I’m proud of myself for going this far and for attempting this trip. I need more slower practice on curves. 130 miles today.
We went back out with some of our friends. I would like to have taken my bike out again but I was just too tired. I am not conditioned for this. I told John I did 130 miles today and he just looked at me funny. Apparently he thought I said 30 miles. That’s nothing, I did that the first time we went to our BP station. No wonder he looked at me funny. When he heard 130 he had a totally different reaction. That was more like it. Later, Scott told one of the other guys, I don’t recall which one, that I ride now. The guy just looked at me funny (probably because my keester was planted on the back of Scott’s bike), looked at Scott, and then just kept going. I felt like a fool. I told Scott not to say things like that. He said he doesn’t really care. Not that he doesn’t care about me, he just doesn’t give a damn what other people think. (Then why say anything at all?) I know he’s proud of me, but why bring it up in the first place? All of these things will be revealed in due time. I can wait.
I almost didn’t go back out with Scott that night, and I shouldn’t have. I was too tired. We wound up waiting for people. Before we even got going on our ride, I just wanted to go home. And, of course, we wound up at a bar. If we set out to go barhopping, I’d be the first to slap my knee and say set me up, but when we’re out to ride, bars should be out. I don’t want to be around riders that are impaired. I’ve done bars to death. When I go out to ride, I want to ride!
The next day I was too tired to go out. We laid out in the sun by the pool. I got in for a bit but the water was 70 degrees. It stings when it’s that cold. Maybe we’ll go out Monday evening, or Tuesday evening after I get out of work. Scott leaves on vacation Friday. Kids too. I’m gonna miss my boys.
Category: Motorcycle Journal