Planning and Preparations

Planning & preparations.

Plans are made to be changed. Plan A East-West turned into Plan B West-East and then back to Plan A East West.

I am on the Mother of all Roads now, 2 days. Just by myself. (After spending a week in Delaware/New Jersey and two weeks at 9000 feet + in Colorado with wife and friends.)

One week of ‘getting acquainted’ with my 850XS Midnight Special. It began with admiring her, all black, gold trimming, a most powerful roar when started and riding, an amazing pick-up at any speed, not even 9000 miles since she saw life on the road in 1980. Handing lightly as a bicycle. The hills of Southern Indiana are excellent proving grounds. Small, curving roller coasting roads, empty, from the one cross-road town to the other. Indiana University’s hometown Bloomington as base zero.

The main thing with a honeymoon with a new old bike is to understand her music and rhytm. The sounds at certain speeds in certain gears, lots of throttle or just cruising along, you think as driver you are the director – but she is an orchestra all by herself and you better listen to the tunes she calls. From there on, it is smooth riding. For example to pay a visit to Bob & Svetlana Ryan in Cincinnatti to whom we are so much indebted for having this website – thanks for the downtown lunch! Out on the interstate to Cincinatti, 75 mph and still asking for more. As if she is saying: finally, after more than 25 years I am being taken seriously as a riding machine. I hear her.

Well, I did a few repairs at the Bloomington Fox Yamaha dealer handled by a seasoned senior mechanic. New front brake pads (wear indicators visible), a new front tire (drying-out cracks visible), new fork seals (one leaking), all fluids new (just to make sure). Her front end is stable, sturdy and reliable as never before. Fast curvy turns don’t lie, they tell.

Riding around with my full-face helmet, protective summer jacket and pants – I was so surprised to see the many riders I came across without any protection at all. Man/wife, boy/girls bare arms, jeans, bandana. Image skidding and your skin being burned off by the road surface (among the most painful wounds you can have!), your head hitting a tree (no further comment). Not a risk I am willing to take even at 90-100F. (Most bicycle riders I see here in the US wear helmets….)

Subsequent posts will relate my day-to-day R66 events and emotions. I intend to spend about a week to get to the SantaFe area and then take highway 54 back to St Louis for the final run to Terre Haute and Bloomington. Are you around this itinerary anywhere – let me know, perhaps we can share a cold one at the end of a riding day.

Harold – “Ride to Tell”

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