Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Morning Ride

  Today is one of those "perfect" motorcycle riding mornings in Colorado, when the wind is almost nil, it's about 59 degrees outside, the sun is shining but it's partly cloudy, and it's mid-to-late-spring and traffic is almost non-existent since the alcoholic/druggie Coloradians seeking oblivion are nursing their hangovers and/or aren't awake yet at 8:30am (though I woke at 5:30, which in military terms is rather late in the day, normally we have to get up at 4am for a day-shift). 

Colorado native says, "I don't shive a git!.. Fuuuushn' A!  420 babay!"

Nice Chinese-made steel pergola
  For a change, I have little to do today, except contemplate a pergola and reading the horror-stories from Lowe's website the Chinese pig-steel they use and that it rusts after 2 months (no thanks) I'm considering getting a master carpenter to do the deed if under $1k.  I consider "Rosie" but her tank is a tad on empty, though the morning "nowhere" drive would be nice with the targa-top down, I consider my options.  Since I recently sold my Honda Superhawk VTR996 (a fine bike, but it's time for me to let her go to have adventures with someone else) I eye my trusty Kawasaki Ninja 250R.  Yep, she'll have to do.  My hatchback Saturn Astra XR (made for 1 year only in the US) looks sad but defiant, knowing she'll get heavy use come winter with her grabby siped winter-only tires.  I check Google Maps and verify a favorite route of mine and consider a detour.

  Normally, a fun and little-known southern route follows Old Pueblo Road from Santa Fe Blvd. in Fountain.  It's a farmer's route with lots of nice trees and a river called "Fountain Creek" it's picturesque and pleasant, so I fire up "BJ" (blue "Jay" Ninja 250R based on the 250R-J type model 2008) which is assembled in Bangkok, Thailand (so you know it's a fun time) though the parts are manufactured in Kawasaki, Japan.  She's only got a scant 3k miles on her, I haven't ridden her much in favor of my old Superhawk though I gave a thorough oil-changing and a lot of modifications on suspension and handling and lighter "things" and some cosmetic goodies.  She sits very low to the ground with a seat-height of about 26 inches.  Yeah, the seat is 2 feet and 2 inches off the ground which makes for super fun happy times and builds a lot of confidence.  As usual, I glued a tiny "talisman" action figure on the brake-fluid reservoir, a little blue ninja man.  Yeah, a little ninja on a little ninja.  My quarter liter beater!

  She fires up just fine and I let her idle for a minute or so while I gear-up, the low growl of the 248cc engine a bit louder now that I've performed the "snorkel removal" procedure giving me 2 extra horsepower (a 10% gain!)  I'm a fan of ATG-ATT (all the gear, all the time) motto.  I use a carbon-fiber HJC helmet from 2006 that's still in very good condition (though I suspect an upgrade is due as it's only SNELL M2000 and I think we're up to SNELL M2010 standards by now, which is better than DOT standards, and there's argument about drying glue and the such, though the foam lining doesn't shift when pressured, which is the main concern, it's probably still fine enough).  Still I put it on and my heavier leathers by First Racing (all blue, of course) I bought back in 2002 when I had my first Ninja 250 EX.  Yeah, I should update that gear I guess.  Very rugged stuff.  I have new gloves though that have knuckle protection and some finger vents and some gel padding by Olympia I bought last season that I wore only a few times instead of my ancient 2002 blue Olympia gauntlets more rough for wear at this point and should be retired.

  I go west on Powers/Mesa Ridge Pkwy to  Fountain Mesa Road which is a residential thoroughfare and over to Ohio Ave. to South Main St. in Old Fountain which turns into my Happy Favorite Bike Road, "Old Pueblo Road" that snakes south.  It's one of those happy roads that wind around a lot with pretty trees and the like, the smell of farm is in the air as you meander at about 50mph (10 over the speed limit).  No traffic (or barely any).  Quite nice.

  There's a sassy railroad hairpin turn that suggests 10mph and they ain't kidding.  It's a decreasing radius from 50 mph and it doubles-back troublingly over some tracks while in a turn with some sand for good measure.  Motorcyclists understand this is a recipe for disaster so pussyfooting one's way over it like a Harley motorcyclist does on every turn is the way to go here without eating steel railroad tracks for breakfast.  I still always come onto it a bit hot and have to scrub-off a good amount of speed with my braided-brake lines, the 250 easily compliant.  You don't want to hit those tracks at a lean!  Success!  No fall-y fall-y.

  Now at the end, the road curves back onto I-25 as it runs parallel with it for about 15 miles or so at Pike's Peak International Raceway (where AMA used to be held, sadly no more).  According to my Google Map, I can go over to Hanover Road veering east (left) and then onto Meridian Road going south (right) which will lead me to the east half of Pueblo some 10 more miles south and it meanders nicely (supposedly).

Dirt road?  Crap.

  I follow Hanover for about 5 miles until I get to Meridian Road South (rather nondescript).  The scenery here is barren and alien-looking.  Anyone who's driven to Roswell, NM knows the terrain I'm talking about.  It seems not-of-this-earth barren and foliage is odd cactus things that look like baby Joshua-trees (not the album, the last good one by U2).  Meridian Road I come to a halt at and look sadly.  It's a dirt road, and it expands for miles over the horizon.  I'm not in the mood to negotiate 10 miles of sand and rocks, so I sigh and turn her around and go back.

All roads end at Burger King.

Half and hour later I make it back to Rt. 85/87 where all roads lead to Burger King and I order a bacon-double-Whopper with Cheese (no bun) and onion rings for my Atkin's delight.  My hair is sticking up from my helmet (aka "helmet hair") like Beaker from The Muppets but I munch away in delight, then speed on back home, taking a slight detour to look at the new housing developments going-on under my Mesa (I live on the top of a 100 foot cliff overlooking Pueblo in the distance and a dairy farm).

Russian spies at Burger King?  Fembots = WIN!

  Yeah, it's been a good day for riding, and a good day overall, and it's only 10:30am!  Win for the Win!  Glad you could join me!

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