Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stupid dogs

... Not really; I'm just ticked at the smaller one right now. 

Going up the stairs last night, minding my own business... here comes chance, flying up and skirted between my legs while I was in the middle of a step. So I tripped and reached down to stop my fall, but unfortunatly, my foot and toe(s) slamming against the underside of the next step was what slowed my fall.. and I heared that nice, resounding *crack*.. like inside your head when you break a bone. 

I've broke a couple of bones, so me and that noise are pretty familiar with each other =(

get up to the top of the stairs... after maybe, or maybe not, dropping a couple of choice words about chance .. and start investimigating my left foot.. There was already a lump forming on my Pinky-Toe that _wasnt_ where my joint was... so, I've broke my toe =/  I've broken toes before, but the pinky toe is kind of an enigma, especially those of us with Knot Knees (I stand on the outsides of my feet cause of my knees... its weird).  The pinky toe, you can't really do anything for cause it's so small... I've taped it to the next toe, but really all thats doing is pulling my 4th toe over to my pinky, instead of my pinky over to it... I tried to make a little split for it this morning, but that didn't really work out.. so, just gotta grin and bear it I guess... No running for me.  Because your pinky toe is pretty vital to your balance and step-roll (who'da thunk it), it kinda hurts a little bit... I'm just a little worried about it for motorcycling... My boots hold the feet pretty tight, and It's on my shift foot... but my old man drove a big, heavy harley with a busted Achiles... so surely I can ride with a broke pinky toe! Can't let the old man think he's tougher than me ;) 

Monday, March 23, 2009

I miss Italy

.. but it's not really Italy.. don't get me wrong, Italy and Rome were *awesome* and very very very cool... but that's not really what I miss. 

I really miss spending the time with Jill. 

When we left NYC after getting engaged, we said that was our favorite trip ever... not just because of getting engaged, but because of all the time we got to spend together while walking / sightseeing / eating ... al the fun we had messing around, eating our bagel and coffee walking to Times Square...  Rome is very very similar in that regard; the most fun we had the whole time was walking down little sidestreets, finding random Coffee houses and ducking in random churches... but it wasn't because of the coffee, churches or monuments that we had such a good time, it was the time that we got to spend together that made it so great. With our Busy schedules that we live day - to -day, our time together is usually filled with activites, to-do's, chores or filled with last moment addons... we don't get to see each other a ton; we're always on the go with school, work, family, church and social obligations. Yesterday was kind of our 'last hurrah' slow weekend together for at least a month... Both of our April calendars are pretty nuts; I'm going to PA. for a week for work, I've got 3 of our budgetted IT projects coming to fruition this month (all of which require off-hours implementation), finals for Jill are at the end of this month, I've got a leadership seminar for 3 days this month, I start summer classes at the end of this month, couple that with normal schedules (church / nweds / working/ school) and it's gonna be just a busy month or so.... with all this coming up, and having just come back from Rome, it just sucks that we're gonna see each other so little this month =(

Monday, March 16, 2009

Italy Walking

Just doing a quick recap of the Italy walked

Italy was great.. btw =)  Please be sure to read Jill's Day-Recap posts 
and stuff to read all about the awesome stuff we saw and the
 awesome time we had

But.. here's a 4 day cap over what we walked... this is without 3 days, two of which were walking tours + City walking for restraunts / shopping etc. 

Day 0:

Day 1:

DAy 2:

Day 7:

So thats right at 24.8 miles in just those days... to me, thats a good bit of walking ;)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Second Ride

So I got a new Battery today during lunch, and found out that there's a honda dealership right near our Towne Lake branch... so thats really cool. 

Got home, dropped the new Battery in (omg hate tiny washers) hustled upstairs to change so I could be on the road and back before dark. I'm going to put up a post of all the gear I've got, with pictures.. but here's the long and skinny:

Shoei Diablo RF-1000 Helmet
Alpinestars "Bat" Pants
Alpinestars Staged Perforated Leather Jacket
Joe Rocket GPX 2.0 Gloves
Alpinestars Vented S-MX Plus Boots
Icon Field Armor Vest
(For To-Work travel; Icon's Men Textile Arc Pants)

So I put everything on, go down the garage and start it and let it get to about 140 degrees before pulling it out. Close the garage door and I was off =)

I went up baker, which wasn't too trafficy at this point (got caught by two redlights though).. I hoped on Cowan/92 and jumped over to Main Street Acworth... dropped down to Nance and cut across to 41. Once on 41, I shot up to Kemps Ridge (behind Walmart), jumped back on 92 then down to Main.. back onto cowan then baker, then I was home. 

Riding is very sureal... There is something distinctly different between riding thru acworth in a Car and on a bike. First off.. you *drive* a car, you ride a bike. There really is a huge difference... for a little while, you and the bike are like one solid entity.. you lean, it turns, you pitch forward, it accelerates, you sit up, it slows down... there's just so much connection between rider and machine than there is in a faceless car... its hard explaining it without experiencing it.  You miss out on so much in your car.. the smells of restraunts, the sounds, the feel of hovering just above the road, just.. the freedom. It's really hard to explain, so I think I'll stop now.. lol. 

Just finished up straightening up the house a little, folding some clothes, changing the sheets and getting the lugage out. We're starting packing tonight (what we can).. then finishing it up over the next day and a half... I brought the Euro's and the Passports home today, I've got the vouchers, the bags are getting packed, got the airport transport arranged.... It's geettttting close =)

/hums Leav'n on a Jet Plane...

So tonight... we're getting everything packed and stowed away for the big trip.  it's going to kind of be a hectic couple of days. 

I've got the Euro's converted, our vouchers printered and in a folder, confirmation for the travel to and from the airpor, our passports, the iternerary and all the expedia documents that go with it.  Today I've got to go find a power-converter for US-to-Europe sockets, I think some extra underwear (lol!) and thats it I think. 

When I get home... I've gotta get the luggage out, toss on some clothes to wash, and start straightening up the house... cause we're not gonna have a ton of time to pack tommorrow night, because we've got the concert too. 

So it's gonna be a busy couple of days... but then it's work-free for a week, eating on real italian food touring Florence =) 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Ok... so sit down, grab some popcorn and a coke; this is a good one:

After sitting thru the personal hell that is the DDS (Department of Driver Services)... I walk in to my house with a shiney new "CM" Class license! I did it, I'm now a legal, licensed motorcyclist in the state of Georgia... way to go team! 

So I get home, figure I'll go use some of my new found freedom and ride around the neighborhood. After 5 or 6 times of goind thru the spaghetti-like streaks of our subdivision..I come home. Step upstairs and talk to jill for a sec, and we decide... what the heck, we'll take it to Baker Road Elem and I'll try driving around in the parking lot. Well the parking lot went really well (I'm learning the friction zone better)... so we had some movies we needed to run to Blockbuster... lets roll! Jill was following me in the escape... so, we run up Baker to the Publix shopping center right at baker & 92. 

Everything was going perfectly fine...we stopped, Jill ran the DVD's inside... we started to leave. 

Bike went... wur wur wuuuuuuuur... *click* *click*. 

Little bit of a back story:  I've had to put the battery on charge twice already, because it seems like its never been 'tended' in the winter. Voltage is fine.. but the Amps are apparently really low. 

So I look at Jill and apparently she could read the "shiiiiiiiiiii...." look on my face... dead battery. I've ran into this same thing before, except it was in the garage.. and not in the middle of a parking lot =/ 

So apparently.. SOMEONE up there was looking out for me. Lo' and Behold.. who is looking for a movie in Blockbuster? A guy who owns 2 honda powersports dealerships in Gwinnett, who sold the Harley dealership in MArietta their shop (it use to be a honda shop).. who has had a CBR, and who currently has 3 motorcycles. God send... litterally. 

So this guy helps me (I didn't have the tools to take the battery out) get the battery out and Jill runs it to autozone... who doesn't have a battery for it. So then Walter shows me how to jump a bike off without cratering or blowing the battery up (if you jump it off like a car, you can kill the bikes electrical system)... so after a while, he helps us get up and running... then we're off to the house...and I'm buying a new battery tommorrow =)

BUT... my first street ride turned out to show me the kind of... far-reaching bonds between motorcyclist. While working on the bike; one of which has a harley. It also showed me that I need to make sure I've got a Toolkit in the storage compartment on my bike!

But in one day of legal driving... I've driven at night, on a busy road, learned how to jump off a bike, and pulled a battery in the middle of a parking lot. 

It was awesome =)

BTW... riding, in general... was just pretty dang fantastic. 

Weekend Roundup!

Man oh MAN... what a weekend it's been!

So Thursday and Friday were the MSF Classroom exercises... which were, actually, very fun and informative. They really introduce you to the concept of motorcycling and get you familiar with the unique challenges that you'll face in the real world on your bike. It also really introduced you to the rest of the class.. cause we worked together on serveral sections of the book, and toured the Dealership together... answered each other questions, etc. It was a big help, refresher wise, if you already knew where all the controls are on a bike.,.. and for those who didn't know, obviously it was a big help.

So Saturday rolls around, and Saturday meant it was Range-Day.

Lets just do a recap of the weather this weekend... before we get started:
Saturday - Spotted Showers all day (rained 80% of the time) Temp in the mid 40's, cloudy with light wind
Sunday - Snow flurries & Frozen preceptitation all day, high of 39, wind gusts up to 30mph.

AKA... both days it was wet, windy and cold as all get out.

So Saturday... we get introduced to the bikes. They're Buell Blasts... which are Harley's line of 'sportbikes'... they're intro level though, 500cc's and only pushing about 40HP on 380lbs of bike with a single Cylinder. They're not aweful little bikes... but they're a little rough feeling; which probably wasn't a bad thing. It felt a lot like sitting on a two wheeled lawn mower... but it being rough let you really feel and hear where the friction zone was... because you could feel the bike's RPM's dip and the clutch starting to engage (you can't feel it as much on the F4..). It was balanced fairly well... but again, for it's frame it felt a little.. 'off' like the weight wasn't quite distributed just right. In short... I like my Honda 100x better =D

Anyways... Day #1: We get introduced how to properly address the bike, go thru the T-CLOCS procedure (Tires / Controls / Lights / Oil & Fluids / Chasis / Stands), mount it.. start it using FINE-C (Fuel, Ignition, Neutral, Engine Cutoff Switch, Clutch... go!). We started by finding the bikes friction zone... the point at which the bike starts transferring power to the back wheel.. we rocked back and forth, playing with the clutch... for about 45 minutes. Then we power walked the bike, using the friction zone, all the way across the range.. letting people get use to the friction zone and working the throttle the keep the engine from dying. After that, it was time for the first ride across the parking lot... which was remarkably easy. We had a couple of students that had a hard time, the two girls in particular, but they eventually got it.

Steadily we progessively built upon the previous exercises concepts... going from straight line driving, to braking, to easy cornering, to weaving, to 90 degree corners, to quick stops... everything progressviely built up on the previous exercise (Saxon Math for Motorcycles!). During the course of the day, we had 1 drop out... a girl, Alice, who tapped her brakes going thru a corner and 'High Sided' going about 8 mph and it just got in her head... she dropped the bike the next time she parked it, and then withdrew from riding. The day continued, with Cornering DEF. being the most fun exercise... I got, not really in trouble... but 'cautioned' about my leans during the 135-150 degree corners. Leaning is, by far, THE BEST THING about riding... so my leans might have been a little... over exagerated =) I had a perfect outside-inside-outside turn mechanic... but I would hug the inside and outside to the max, so that I could lean a little farther... the primary instructor just told me "When you go thru a corner you don't have to lean THAT far.." (he said that while smiling.. btw).. then the other instructor, Sam, said "Damn that felt good, didn't it? Thats what motorcycling is about!"... so.. yeah ;)

I lost the class bet tho... =( For non-fuel injected bikes (go go F4i) you have to turn the fuel valve to the 'on' position... or else once you burn thru the gas in your carbs... you'll go dead. Well, we bet that no one would do that.... but; I was the first one too =( (3 others did it after me).. so that kind of sucked, but it was funny =) everyone had a good laugh. We wrapped up riding about 5:30.. had some class room time then left for the day... I fell asleep about 9:05 that night; 10hrs in 'the saddle' will wear you out!

Bright and early the next day, I met the instructors for breakfast at a waffle house across the street.. which was pretty cool. We talked about what all we did outside of riding bikes... talked about dirt bikes, Jet Ski's... computers (David was a Network admin prior to working for Harley).. it was fun.

7:45a.m we started... it was really cold cause the snow/sleet/rain mix was about to move in, so everyone was kind of stiff, which was evident the first exercise. We had a lot of clutch control problems, a lot of braking problems and the bikes were having a hard time staying warm... slowly but surely, after a couple of warm up laps and easy exercises, we moved into the curiculum. Swerves were the topic of the morning... talking about avoiding danger if you don't have time to brake, and how to do quick head-checks prior to swerving. The swerves got progressivly more difficult.. with less time/space being available (went from 12ft swerves to 5ft). After that, we practiced riding over objects and performing U-Turns ( I HATE lowspeed U-Turns... hate, hate hate). finally we did a 'practice' run for abotu 30 minutes... doing all the exercises that would be expected of us on the Skill Evaluation (U-turn, High Speed Swerve, Measured QuickStop with downshift, high speed corning technique)... then we had the Skill Evaluation.

I was moved from 5th in line to the front... because the instructor said I'd provided a good example (omg pressure)... so the U-turn... I hate these. My front tires went outside of the box, costing me points =(. Next was the high(er) speed swerve which i did perfect. On to the quickstop... at 15mph you're supposed to be able to stop in 13ft... I stopped in 6.5ft. Next was the Cornering drill; which I Did just right... so the only thing I really got 'docked' on was the U Turn.

After that, we headed upstairs to get warm (OMG was SO COLD)... where they told us that everyone had passed the skill eval (yay!) and all we had left was the written on monday.

So Yesterday (this post was written over 2 days, btw) we had the written test where I missed only 1 question... which was something we didn't really cover that much (what to do if you run over a sandy spot). We had graduation, mingled and talked for a bit, then headed out!

So today, after I get done with work... it's off to the cobb Co. DMV to get my official Motorcycle license =) If anyone who is reading this is thinking about getting a bike, has a bike but has never taken this class, or just wants to get better (in general) at driving... TAKE THIS COURSE. It really will help you know what a motorcyclist goes through and will really improve your road awareness, even while in your car.