After 5K miles in 8 days, the Wing is now officially Wendy ... and on this trip often WINDY! Her navigation skills are questionable ... she didn't know about hwy 20 being 4-lane across most of IA, so was blissfully navigating through space after valiantly trying to navigate us to Ft Dodge. Maybe she just wanted to help get over 5K! Oh well, my "jump on the bike and punch in a city" approach to trip planning could use a little work too. She was reliable smooth and powerful through snow, rain and hail (just a little), plus a lot of cold and wind.
I launched out of Gallup NM Sunday AM at 7ish with 30 degrees on the temp, about 20 mi later I was freezing and checked it again ... 25 degrees, I was going UP! It turns out that while I need 45 to be "reasonably comfortable", this trip forced me to discover that the "UNcomfortable" doesn't get too much worse at least down to that 25 or so ... the combination of the heat exchange with the engine being "open", the grip heaters, the "hand wings" deflectors off the bottom of the mirrors, and just the general excellent wind control make it it "survivable". Future spring trips will have better planning on long range weather / altitude !!
Going through Albuquerque NM the drink holder on my right bar loaded with my trusty Dew, departed. Must have just loosened up and there it went ... ought to be an easy fix, but it was sorely missed for the rest of the trip. Somewhere like 30mi past Albuquerque it hit my "minimum desired" 45 degrees. I rode 40 over to Tucumcari NM and then retraced my steps out up to Liberal KS, then turning N for Great Bend where I spent Sunday night. 740 windy and chilly miles. I kind of like the great plains two lanes. Seeing the farming, huge cattle lots, the change or that area to what must already be closing on a Hispanic majority.
The descendants of the European explorers that "conquered" North America came to the conclusion that having children wasn't important, nor was having borders, nor was having European descent offspring do "low income" jobs -- meaning jobs / lifestyles that would have made royalty jealous in the 16th to even 19th centuries. Queen Isabella could not have believed a flat screen TV, internet, let alone a low-rider with fuzzy dice! Civilizations rise and fall, but I think the plains ... and solo riders on horses, motorcycles and ??? will survive.
Monday I took off and headed cross country up to 80, then over to Omaha, then up 30 and eventually to 20 and on home via interstate. Just into IA on 30 I had the treat of watching a jet ranger chopper "surveying something" ... I'm guessing it was power lines from the height and position, but he was going down the road a little higher than the power lines at something like "30 MPH", usually sideways to the road. The moose "limited good judgement in very tough for moose attention control situation indicator" was flashing orange-red. Having a few miles to watch a chopper right in front of me was GREAT, but of course I knew that the chopper was a huge distraction not just for me, but for oncoming traffic as well. Although the thought crossed my mind that 99% of the oncoming found it to be WAY less interesting than I, but anyway ...
I got a couple miles in before a truck came up behind me and I took off. I'm guessing the pilot had done that before ... it was pretty windy, but I could actually see him operating things ... he WAS swiveling his head a lot, which seems like a good idea about 50' up moving in a sideways direction! I know, the SMART thing to do would have been just "take note and go, or pull over and watch for a bit" ... and then skipping Prescott, Pagoda Springs and probably the whole trip would also have been the most "prudent".
Lots of time alone on a bike for 5K miles, lots of it on flat or mildly undulating roads where the road and the telephone poles recede into the horizon like grade school drawing class. They must have been driving in New Mexico when they made up those classes. The decision to get married, settle down and have kids -- and how MUCH one makes that an "all the way" thing. 34 years at IBM, giving up the motorcycle to "be responsible" and a few other such decisions were likely over on the personal side of "nuts" in the same way as a solo 5K ride in the mostly cold.
But then what is wisdom? One can't really get the summary of a 34 year career or 26 years of having been a parent from reading books and thinking about it. Sometimes you just have to ride.
"I Hold On" (very hot current country song that will likely always bring this trip back to my mind), is who we are something we are wired with, decisions we make, character we develop, or a gift from God?
I'm guessing it is yes ...