Monday, October 12

Gallimaufry Time!

So many things to say and so little time. I'm not usually this invisible but life has been rearing its head and reminding me of the many things beyond my control.

Here's a hodgepodge of happenings that will allow me to catch up.

Fall is here and its cousin, "Winter" is never far behind...

This weekend, I took my coldest rides thus far--33 degrees F. The day started off in the low 50s and by the time I reached Fountain City, Indiana, the temps had reached the mid-50s. Beautiful fall weather. Still a bit cool, but with a heated jacket, I remained comfy. I did notice that my left hand grip, which already had been replaced under warranty, failed to heat up as smoothly as the right hand grip. Thus the fingers of my left never really warmed up. I packed the heated pants but never donned them. This is the time of the year when the heat that the ST is known for throwing off, is a welcomed feature. On my returned home from central Indiana, the temps dropped to 33F. Yeowwww! My thighs did get cold and I had by evening forgotten that I had packed the heated pants. So, I sucked it up and thought warm thoughts the whole way.

Sunday's ride started out colder with temps in the 30s and eventually reached 39F and hoover there. By mid-morning the temps were in the low 40s. This time, from head to toe, I was prepared and thus, I enjoyed the ride without distraction. Watching the leaves' evidence of change in the many shades of golds, reds, and greens and every hue in between was humbling as well as breath-taking. Fall is an amazing reminder that all things that nature has spent the spring and summer seasons building, begins to fall apart and in doing so, displays the beauty of this season of change--only to start over again next year, which it will as sure as the sun rises again.

Levi Coffin House, Saturday, Oct. 10th (Underground Railroad Research)

On this brisk fall morning, I motored to Fountain City, Indiana (formerly Newport) to tour the Levi Coffin House, where it is believed that over 2000 human beings escaping slavery found safe shelter. Coffin, a Quaker, felt free to ignore unjust laws and spent the rest of his life doing what he could to destroy the institution of slavery. I arrived at the Coffin House around 3:29pm--after having a wonderful lunch at Shapiro's Deli in Indianapolis.

The Coffin house closes at 4pm. I'm beginning to think that it's good practice to arrive at these sites near the end of the day. I received one of the best tours from Janice McGuire. She shared stories that are not part of the official tour. She was knowledgeable about UGRR sites in general and knew the Indiana history well. And, what she didn't know, she was eager to assist me in finding the answer. For example, four of the pallbearers at Levi Coffin's funeral were African American. That is UNUSUAL as they were present not in a position of servitude but in a role honor, friendship and respect for Levi Coffin. I wanted to know who these men were. How did they come to carry the coffin of Coffin (no pun intended)?

In Coffin's obit, a church is mentioned along with the name of a Reverend who shares the surname of one of the pallbearers. This is definitely a case for the History Detectives--but why should they have all the fun? I plan to do some research to find the answers and see where this leads. Wish I could find a funder to fund UGRR research. Oh well...

Wisconsin's Rustic Roads (RR) Revisited

Wisconsin's rustic roads program is always fun.

I get terribly lost on many of the roads but there isn't a turn or bend that isn't exciting and fun to follow. County roads DD, C, FF-- and many other--are simply wonderful gems with interesting sites, house, and animals along the way. These hidden pockets thrill the urban rider. Even when I can't seem to follow the map to link one RR to another, this is never a dull trip. These lightly traveled Wisconsin back roads allow me to hear myself think and reacquaint myself with me, myself and I. What I love most is that I can get to Racine, WI, for example, in a fairly short amount of time and lose myself as if I've traveled through many states--and still be back home before nightfall. Let no one say the Midwest is flat--well, it is, but there are lots of hilly places too.

Where there are rivers, glacier activity, drifts, moraines, kettles, there are bound to be some fun twisty and rolling roads to explore. I hear that some Wisconsiners (?) tire of Illinoisians coming to their state. I don't know if this is true and if so, why. This is America and last I heard, it is a united states. So, I shall freely go again and again 'cause I love the terrain! And, I'm certain that my few pennies contribute to the Wisconsin coffers.

Track Day (TD)

Ok, remember I did a Track Day this summer? Well, Motoworks, who sponsored the TD, mailed the participants a gift. A CD with all the participants riding around the track! They had a professional photographer there, who really did a fab job. She managed to make everyone look like experienced racers! She shot us at our best. I look fast and furious in these shots--of which there are many! Don't you agree, I look Ma-va-luss! Yeah, I know...looks can be deceiving.

Thank you Motoworks! Looking forward to TD next ride season.

BMW Mileage Contest Closes (October 11, 2009)

It started in April, right around the time that I flew to Fredericksburg, VA to retrieve my bike, which had been at Morton's BMW dealership since my "get off." Before leaving VA, my pal Claye at Fleeter Logs reminded me that the BMW mileage contest had started and that I should make my ride home count. My start form was signed by a person who has reached 1 million miles on BMWs. I couldn't ignore this--this would mean some huge tires to fill. No one puts this kind of pressure on me--I'm just goal-driven enough that instantly I felt obligated to live up to this man's riding legacy. So, I set a goal of 20,ooo miles for the ride season. I would have been nice to have completed it all during the six months.

I watched my bike turn over to 22,000 miles Saturday around 8ish p.m. I took a ride on Sunday too because that was the official end of the mileage contest and I wanted to end on a good note. Thus far, I've put on over 15,000 safe miles--not counting the miles I've put on the BMW F650GS, which can't be counted for the contest because I didn't include that bike on the start form. Nor do those miles include the time I spent in the SV650's saddle. And, the official ride season isn't over yet and won't be until they pry my hands from the handle bars. So, I still have time to hit that 20,000 miles goal for the season--all done on my Beemer. Fingers crossed. Still, I'm quite pleased with the miles I've put on Jesse Owens so far, given that most of my long distance riding is accomplished on weekends. I now know that when I hear of someone putting 40,ooo miles on their bike from April to October, they typically don't have a regular job. Am I envious? You dang tootin' I am. I want a life where once April arrives, I just ride off...and return some time after Labor Day. Oh well...dreams are free.

Bun Burner before the season ends?

I am seeking one decent weekend, a good 36 hours to scratch an itch that bugging me. It's an itch to do a Bun Burner. For those who don't know, this is an Iron Butt Association Ride of 1500 miles in 36 hours. Yes, I know, I just finished a Saddle Sore. But I have a nice route all planned out. The fall, with it shorter days and unpredictable weather, and the insane demands on my life, might make accomplishing a BB a tough undertaking. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a nice break in the weather.

Okay...that's it for me. I've missed you.

I have a project I'm working on that I can't reveal at the moment (don't you hate it when people tell you something and then tell you they can't tell you about it?!) but I plan to share it with you in a future blog. For now, if you have an extra million dollars sitting around, wondering what to do with it, I have a project that needs funding. Call me...


Unknown said...


Welcome back, not that you've been gone that long but I found that you usually post on Mondays, and I've been missing them lately. Don't worry about the pressures of the world nor deadlines. If we were all wealthy, then we could just ride into the sunset and come back when the snow flies, but until we find that money tree, it's off to work we must go and wait for the weekends.
In reponse to your questions, yes there is a story behind the pink crocs.

Don't pressure yourself on the mileage thing, cold tires, ice, frost, darkness all conspire against you this time of year. There is always next year, unless of course, you move WEST.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

cpa3485 said...

Yes, Sharon, you do look Mah-ve-lous!
Your gear even matches your bike!
All this talk of your mileage boggles my mind a bit. I thought 4,000 miles on a scooter was good, but you are way more dedicated than I. I bet a lot of those miles were very memorable.
Although it pales in comparison to some of your endeavors, my first relative long trip is this weekend. Maybe about 400 miles round trip in total up to Topeka. It will be my first experience in spending a few constant hours in the saddle. I am so excited (and a bit nervous) about it that I have been driving everybody around me crazy. HOpe you reach your goal, but continue to be safe doing it.

David E.B. Smith said...

Speaking of Rustic Roads - they just repaved Hoosier Creek Rd and Wheatland Rd southeast of Burlington and they're excellent. They've always been nice and twisty (for SE Wisconsin) but for years have been covered with tar snakes that rendered them unrideable. Now they're all nice, new, smooth pavement. Everybody should take advantage of them before they go through the first winter and get torn up.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sharon:

The pictures of you on the track are very good... But the one I liked best was the shot of the road through the windshield of your bike. And what I liked best about that one, was all stuff on your dashboard.

You are driven as a writer... As a historian... And as a rider. I too am gearing up for a big event at work. I've been wanting to drop you a note for the longest time, but am just too beat at the end of the night.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisated Roads

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Thanks, Bob...

If you find the money tree before I do, please share with the needy (i.e., ME). I will be watching/searching for the story of the pink crocs.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Thanks, Jim,

Glad you enjoyed the pics of me racing around the track!

It's not the miles (I keep reminding myself of this) but the time spent in the saddle having fun. Good for you for taking your first big one! I look forward to hearing about it.

A word of advice from a's your trip. Do what you want. Inhale deeply, relax, stop to take as many pics as you want, solve the world's problems, and enjoy the pavement whizzing by as the miles peel away. You'll return with memories to last a lifetime.

I remember my first big trip. A absolute blast. The first, will always be my most favorite. At least you won't have your family lecturing you about the evils of the world on a lone woman out there...

Be safe. HAVE FUN!

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...


Thanks for that info! I will definitely get up there before the snow ends my riding. I hope the roads fare well through the winter, though.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hi Jack!

Thanks. You're right about the driven thing...funny thing is, I didn't even have all the stuff I normally carry. Sometimes I feel like I'm piloting an aeroplane! Now, with the cold, I've got plugs hanging off me!

Don't stress yourself about a note to me. I know you're there and I'm here and neither of us is going anywhere soon...Try to enjoy the fall. I'm really trying to even though I know it signals the eventual end of riding. I rarely see a motorcycle out now and when I do, I am thrilled. I now wave vigorously across the highway.

Take care, pal.

irondad said...

I've been distracted, too. Finally catching up. Sorta. Nothing useful to say except to offer greetings.

I got a new laptop with this great screen. It's kind of glossy, but super sharp. Your photos look so cool on this thing.

You help keep me inspired in my photo quest.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Welcome, Irondad...glad to hear you're catching up too. Been noticing your photography--you're doing great and you have a neat camera (I love the D40). I have it's big brother the D80, but I'm expecting a new baby next week. Stay tuned...

Unknown said...


NO, don't tell me, you getting a G11 ? I was thinking about it but my friend said to go for the S90 instead. same specs but smaller. Or are you getting a D700 ? 50D ? Now you've got me curious.

And if you are expecting, and getting a new baby, then Congratulations.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...


It's not the G11--my G10 has served me well and I've only toyed with the idea of getting the Leica D-lux 4 to replace it. I think I'm over that now and back with my trusted G10. I too have heard good things about the S90.

Well, I didn't want to reveal my new baby until I had her in my arms, er, hands. I'm adding the Nikon (I'm a Nikon dSLR user from film camera days and a Canon P&S) drum roll, please....D300s.

Every bit of research I've done tells me this is a much better buy than the D700 (I don't need full frame, frankly). But for the money, the D300s is simply the better buy. I will probably NEVER use the video component on the 300(s) but I'll tell you, the dual card slot sold me! It can 1) serve as a back up; 2) allow you to shoot in two different formats (jpg and raw);and, serve as an overflow. If one card fills up, the other card can kick in. I researched so long that they've stopped making the 300 and the cost of the 300s is not that more more than the 300 that remain there. So, there you have it. I will use my trusted D80 as back up camera but play mostly with the new baby.

Unknown said...


that's great. My friend also bought a 300, don't think it is the "s", he had the D200 before. You should be very happy with it. I was thinking of getting the G-11 but have read "bad" reviews and it's not even out yet. I like the idea of High Iso but pocketable, so I may pick up the S90 as a backup and keep using the G-10 or D80.
congrats again on your new "baby"

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

John said...

It's my first time to comment here. I'm looking forward for an Iron Butt Association Ride of 1500 miles in 36 hours too :)
-John@DMV Locations

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hi John,

Thanks for stopping by! Always nice to "see" a new face. Time is slipping away for me to get in another IB ride this season. I should have made that second SS a Bun Burner...oh well...there's always next season. Hope you'll share your ride report when you've successfully completed your ride.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hi John,

Thanks for stopping by! Always nice to "see" a new face. Time is slipping away for me to get in another IB ride this season. I should have made that second SS a Bun Burner...oh well...there's always next season. Hope you'll share your ride report when you've successfully completed your ride.

Colin said...

I laughed out loud when I noticed you kept your beaded/air seat thingy on for a track day.

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Hi Colin,

I know!! I realized it later--that was pretty funny. But actually in some of those fast corners I was able to slide my butt off the seat easier. But I really had meant to take the beads off ;-)

Glad you got a laugh out of it.