Sunday, April 15, 2012

Making adjustments

Yesterday (Saturday the 14th) was a day of adjustments that all seemed to work out well, as most adjustments,  taken with a bit of thought, experience and foresight, do, at least most of the time ;)

I was up early, excited to take the new black Morphous up to Diamond's for our weekly coffee gathering.  Suited up, ear plugs in, GPS turned on and reset, the long and low scooter was pushed outside.  Only one of the cats had sneaked inside before I got the big door down, so she had to be coaxed out with sweet nothings; luckily she's the one cat that my success rate with such action is relatively high.

Key on, starter button pushed and the motor turned over once before the solenoid started clicking.  I jumped up, pulled the battery panel off to access the terminals and stuck the 2 amp charger on for a few minutes.  Seeing the digital output reading on my fancy new battery charger gave me hope as well as concern when the "Battery Condition" too quickly showed 100%.  One more push of the starter button took the battery down to 8 volts and I knew the Morph ride was being postponed.

The other Yamaha, the TW200 (sarcastically, the reliable one) happened to be the one in front, so I pushed that outside and headed off in the faint light of dawn, rain drops and fog.  Before I had gone 20 miles, I'd been through thick fog and rain and by the time I was half way to Minneapolis, there was sunshine and fog so full of sunlight that it was almost worse than the dark fog I'd ridden through earlier.  Couple all of that with my forgetting that the gas tank had been very close to Reserve on my last ride and an indirect detour near the Twin Cities, made my normally early arrival something that wasn't to be this time.

The coffee was good, the Deluxe Burrito seemed especially so.  The morning cleared up, the temperature warmed and life was good out along the sidewalk on Central Avenue.

After the ride home, I unloaded and made room in the small tankbag on the TW so that I could stop at Frontenac Honda to purchase a battery.  They had more than one in stock, checked the condition of the Gel battery with their meter and after a few minutes of motorcycle talk, I left after cramming the battery in the tank bag, the can of chain lube in my jacket pocket.

It was too nice of day to be messing around with the battery, so I left it on the workbench, and since I was anxious to get some more miles on the GT250R, I parked the TW and got ready to head down to Alma for lunch on the small sportbike.  Finished with the Lunch Special at Pier 4, I headed north and east on mostly paved roads, though I found some gravel for the day as well.

There are so many great roads to ride in the area and re-riding them is never a hardship, but I'm forever looking for any that I've not been on before and yesterday I found a couple of them.  Often it seems simply riding them in the other direction makes it challenging to remember if they've been visited before though normally I'm quite good at recognizing something along the way that ties a former ride and machine together as a reminder.  I purposely changed my direction on a few of them for the day.

At the crest along County H.......

An always very quiet and scenic Cole Road.......

I found great pleasure yesterday in having the chance to speak with two young riders, one young woman just starting her riding experience with proper training, attitude as well as good riding gear and a young man who's been riding off-road for many years but only recently taken up road riding.  Both of them college students, it was very refreshing and encouraging to listen to them share their stories of riding, justification of riding and attitudes.  C and J, ride safe and do well!

The valleys and distant hills along Julson Ridge......

With this coming week's rain, there will be an explosion of green here in the next few days.

Now, back to my theme of  "Making Adjustments".  On these small roads and even some of the larger, faster ones, my rides take me past many small, local cemeteries. I stop every so often if something happens to catch my eye, possibly location, surrounding topography, nearness to something else, etc.  The stop that made me do a U turn yesterday was due to a couple of factors, one of which was the fact that I happened to notice a cemetery that hadn't caught my eye before ( I do remember where many of them are, though not all of course).  Between that and the fact that there were very fresh tire tracks in the long grass made me go back to take a better look.  The area is very isolated and private with no dwellings or farmsteads nearby, at least modern ones.  Part of my joy of riding these roads is imagining what it must have been like back when so many families struggled on these now-quiet roads with their 40 or 80 acre farms.  Little or no trace of them remains, at least obviously from the road, though I'm sure that the older locals either knew much of the former residents or are those former residents in places long turned to overgrown patches.

So, though I normally wouldn't have stopped, something made me pull over yesterday.  I parked the bike in the tall grass out in front, grabbed the camera and walked back on the ridge among the headstones and markers.  Of course there were many old ones, commemorating folks from a century or two ago but there were many new, updated stones honoring those previous generations as well, replacing markers that had crumbled or spoiled.

What struck me and gave me pause were the more-than-one series of headstones honoring infant or young children, all from the same family.  Appreciating the fact that youthful passing was much more prevalent once than it is now, I still find it extremely hard to imagine going through it once, let alone multiple times.  I spent more than a few minutes yesterday in that quiet place trying to get some perspective on their lives as well as my own.

A lovely, combined trips day of 365 miles that I both appreciated and was very thankful for.

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