Friday, July 15, 2011

Rallies 2011 – Day 1

Greetings! It’s been a year since I last posted. It certainly hasn’t been a year since I was last on a motorcycle. Frankly, my little weekend trips like the annual Big Bend Freeze Out or riding to Fredericksburg just hasn’t inspired me to record the events. Maybe it’s because those are short trips but none the less they deserve to be recorded.

As the title of this post indicates it’s time again to attend rallies. This year we are attending two, first the BMW MOA rally in Bloomsburg, PA and then a CanAm Spyder rally in Lake Placid, NY. But first, we have to get up to the north eastern part of the US. And that’s what we started on today.

The plan was simple, as in years past, we wanted to get out of town quickly and stack on some miles to get to parts of the country we don’t normally get to see. That meant the super-slab and today that meant I-10. We left the house at 7am, the route took us to downtown Houston where we picked up I-10 heading east. We were running 10 miles over the speed limit and doing our best not to get run over. We stopped for gas just outside of Winnie, TX.

We continued east on I-10 into Louisiana. We stopped again for gas in Lafayette. In Grosse Tete we found a BBQ joint for lunch. When we walked inside I realized this was more like a grill. Today’s special was a fried catfish or fried shrimp basket. I opted for the fried shrimp. It was a decent meal, I have no idea what their BBQ was like. For anyone who wants to check out their actually BBQ, it’s just north of the Shell/Subway station so take the Grosse Tete exit in Louisiana and turn north.

After lunch we resumed our eastern trek until we reached I-55 where Garmin decided we should head north. This turned out to be a divergence from my originally planned route of I-10 to I-59. We went up to McComb, MS where we stopped for gas. Then headed east on Hwy 98 into Hattisburg, MS. We found the Super 8 and checked in without any issues.

Once the bikes were unloaded I tried to get onto the Internet. No luck. I called the support number for the WiFi service. I found out they had the WiFi down for maintenance over the weekend and expected it to be back up around the first part of the week. Really????? Thankfully my Sprint Overdrive was able to pull a 4G connection. It was a real surprise to see 4G service up here, this isn’t a large market where you’d expect 4G service just yet. I was very thankful.

Today’s route certainly wasn’t complex and it wasn’t uncomfortably hot either. We road through rain all the way through Louisiana and had cloud cover in Texas. It wasn’t until we reached Mississippi that we saw the sun.  Here’s our route.



I need to talk about some riding gear issues….

I’ve been wearing an Olympia AST jacket for several years. I’m still wearing the same jacket I wore to Alaska back in 2009. Unfortunately, since I sent it in to have the zippers repaired the jacket just hasn’t been water proof like it used to be. And today proved that it may be time to retire the jacket. At first I stayed dry as we got into the light drizzle of rain. But when the rain started to intensify I felt the moisture creeping in through the zippers. Of course wearing mesh pants didn’t help but my upper torso got soaked because the jacket failed me. I still intend to wear this jacket into every state in the US (except Hawaii). After this trip I’ll only have Michigan left, I think I’ll have to make an iron butt ride to Michigan and back in September, and then retire the jacket. I have a brand new Olympia AST jacket in the closet just waiting for the old one to be retired.

Another gear failure issue I had today was with my HJC IS-MAX BT helmet. It seems to leak around the top seal of the face shield. When I was in the really heavy rain, I had enough water coming inside the helmet that it was pooling at the bottom of the shield. I had to keep opening the shield to let the water out. A new helmet is definitely in my future but it will have to wait. I’m not going to hassle with wiring up a new helmet while I’m on the road. A Schuberth C3 seems like a good possibility.


Tomorrow night we’ll be in Virginia and Sunday night we will catch up with some old college friends in Pennsylvania. This summer we are going to be on the road for 24 days. This is going to be a great vacation!

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