Archive for September, 2006

Images of the Fall

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

Weather: Incessant rain and cold.

Mr. Happy rides!
Fall colors are best seen from dirt roads. -Mr. Happy

It’s Saturday morning, and I am stuck indoors. Frogwing and Scarlet O-Baron are tucked snugly in the garage. It rained all night, and it looks to be ready to start in again any moment. But the worst part is, I’m sick. I’ve caught some kind of early season crud, and since the weather is so crappy, I’m going to stay inside and try to beat it by Monday.

The images you see on this page today are from this time last year. I’m trying to get myself psyched up for my Fall Colors rides. In the past, I have always taken Frogwing on these trips, but this year I am thinking about scooting.

Minn-Max, our local touring scooter club, has graciously invited me to come along on one of their rides, and I’m going to do my best to make that happen. I’m sure we can find some great scenery together. Have camera, will travel…

Hay! It's harvest time.
Another image from last year… Hay harvest near Rock Lake.

These weather patterns have me vexed this year. It seems that, since before Autumn began, it has rained every weekend. The only good weather shows up in time for the Monday morning commute, but then we are back to doom and gloom by Friday. Our Windsock and Crystal Ball Guild tells us that this is due to the large hurricane systems blocking the jet stream and causing these low-pressure systems to stall out over the middle of the country.

Well, all I can tell you is, I don’t like it.

I’ll ride in rain, if I have to get somewhere. But I won’t embark on a recreational ride if I know beforehand that most of it is going to be in the rain. That’s just not fun for me. A large part of my riding is visual, and you can’t see the scenery very well in the rain. I’ll punch through a thunderstorm, if there’s a hope of dry weather on the other side. But if the entire ride looks to be wet, then I’d just as soon stay home.

Especially when my head feels like a snot factory.

Okay, in order to make up for that not-so-pleasant image, let me share a nicer one that I took in our front yard last year. This was Emily’s fifth annual roll in the leaves of Autumn.

Ain't she cute?
What can I say? I’m a proud papa…

Hopefully both my head and the weather will clear by next weekend. I need to get out of this box…

The Cold Winds of Autumn

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

Weather: 40°F (4°C) and blustery.

The Colors...
Autumn colors on the Rice River, McGregor, MN.

It rained again yesterday, and a cold rain it was. Frogwing and I took the freeway, both to and from work, because there was no joy in riding the sidestreets under these conditions. Might as well just get it over with.

Wow… I never thought I would say that about any motorbike ride.

Autumn has always been my favorite riding season. You can dress in all the safety gear and still feel comfortable, while riding through nature’s most colorful pallettes. It should be a time of celebration. Most riders, however, resign themselves to attending one or two Fall Colors rides, and then performing the bittersweet ritual of winterizing and storage.

That’s where I’m at right now with Frogwing, and it is making me more than a little depressed.

I wasn’t ready for Summer to end. There were still so many trips I wanted to make, but time, weather, and money never seemed to converge properly. So here I sit, on the cusp of Autumn, feeling like I never really got off the bench and into the game.

Oh well… life is like that sometimes.

What if…?

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

My apologies in advance to all my readers who live in civilized countries (and, strangely enough, California). [Edit: By "civilized", I mean places where filtering or lane splitting are already legal.] This post is for the unenlightened masses of the United States of America.

I’m stepping away from my normal program here for a moment; The 800-pound gorilla named politics has finally demanded an audience. I am going to remain neutral as long as possible. This issue is going to be decided by you, my readers.

Since there was such a horrible turnout at our local primaries yesterday, I’m wondering if anybody in America really cares about or even believes in politics anymore. For motorcyclists, politics has relevance in the laws society passes to govern our conduct and control our priviledges on the road. Like it or not, in this nominal democracy, we are the minority. With that in mind, let me present the following scenario…

The U.S. Congress introduces a bill to legalize lane-splitting nationwide, known as “filtering” in most of the rest of the world. But, American politics being what it is, opposing interests attach a rider (how ironic…) onto that bill that would institute a nationwide helmet law at the same time. Conditions being what they are, this bill will not pass unless it goes through with the rider intact.

If you live in a state that already has a helmet law, then this is a no-brainer for you. But what if you don’t? Would you put pressure on your representative to pass this law?

Since I don’t have the capability to conduct a poll here, I will ask for your comments instead. I will weigh in with my own views on the subject later… and of course, none of this reflects the views or aims of ridetowork.org. So, what do you think?