Since buying my 2001 Kawasaki Concours in 2006 I have put 13,000 or so miles on it. I reset the second of its two trip odometers when I bought it and have not reset it since. So how does 12,980.7 equal 13,000? Funny you should ask.
It seems the speedometer cable (in the days before electronic sensors) likes to vibrate loose. This is not helped by some of the rough roads I have traveled on, including the one we live on, but it has come undone from the back of the speedometer at the most inconvenient times. Like last year riding hone from Brewer in the pouring rain, or this year riding to Brewer in what looked like it might turn into pouring rain. Counting the times it has come undone and the time it broke completely, I figure I have ridden more than a hundred miles not knowing how fast I was going or exactly how far I’d been. So 13,000 seems like a safe enough guess.
Why do I care how many miles I have ridden? Why do I think anyone else would care? I don’t know. And while I could say that I don’t care whether anyone else does, I must, or I wouldn’t be writing about it here. But I think it’s because I want to see, and know, and experience as much as is reasonably (and maybe a little unreasonably) within my ability and not reach a point of saying “I wish I had.”
And if fireworks and lustily singing “La Marseillaise” aren’t your thing, here’s another (old, but still good) way to celebrate France’s contributions to civilization.
Earlier this year I set a goal for myself to ride the length of Maine’s Route 11 and see parts of Maine I had never seen before. So far I haven’t made much progress on that goal, though I have managed to ride 2,000 miles through southern, central, and western Maine, and northern New Hampshire.
After awaking at 4:20 Saturday morning to fog and light rain I finally got on the road, after a couple of false starts, around 6:30 and headed for our youngest’s softball tournament in Brewer, Maine. Her team’s first game was scheduled for 8:00 and there was no way I would get there in time, but I took the interstate to save as much time as possible. Traffic was light. So, fortunately, was any precipitation. I had put on my rain gear but didn’t relish the thought of riding in anything very heavy. After all, it was on the way back from last year’s tournament in Brewer that I had to contend with a broken speedometer cable and riding home in steady – sometimes heavy – rain and fog. On top of this, I discovered that my helmet leaked and that I could only hold my breath just so long to keep the face shield from fogging up.
49.5 miles per gallon, and that doesn’t even begin to tell the story.
My friend Don and I celebrated our shared five years on two wheels with a ride to Colebrook, New Hampshire on the first of July. He has done much more long distance touring than I have, but I have certainly done my share of backroad exploration in southern and central Maine, central and northern New Hampshire, and even a little bit of Vermont.
We rode up to Colebrook last year for the annual New Hampshire Blessing of the Bikes. As much as we liked the setting, we didn’t feel we really fit in with most of the crowd and decided to take our own ride up this year after the crowds had returned from whence they came.
The big treat, other than the great conversation when we stopped along the way and lunch in Colebrook, and our visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace, was the panorama that opened up coming back into Milan (pronounced My-lan, not like the city in Italy, for those of you from away), New Hampshire on Route 16 from the north, not to mention the Thirteen Mile Woods along Route 16 from Errol to Milan, or Route 113 from Gilead to Fryeburg, Maine through part of the White Mountain National Forest (yes, the White Mountains are in Maine, too).
Three hundred miles could scarcely have been more enjoyable.
This last Saturday we were back at Bradbury Mountain State Park (BMSP), this time all five of us. If anyone (hello? anyone?) has been reading my blog for any length of time, they’d know I have a hard time both a.) taking vacation and b.) dealing with indecision. A few days in advance I made it known that I wanted to take a hike on Saturday and left a book and a few maps out for others to peruse. Since it is almost impossible for us to get out of the house before 10:00 a.m. on a weekend morning I suggested BMSP as a destination we might all enjoy.
Instead of almost 21, 19, and 16 1/2, you’d think our girls were ten years younger (and in some ways, I wish they were). “Are we there yet?” “This is a long ride.” “Are you sure you know the way?” Seriously, and it’s only forty-five minutes from where we live. But once we got there, sunscreen and bug lotion liberally applied, we were on our way up the Northern Loop and Boundary trails to the modest summit. An hour up, half an hour there, and an hour down (at a fairly leisurely pace), I’m glad we went. How many more times will the five of us get to do things like this? At some point, I know, all five of us won’t be together or, if we are, there will be others with us (and I look forward to that, too, in a different way), and it won’t be the same.
But for this Saturday, it was just us.
I’ve worn a wristwatch nearly every day since I was eleven years old.
Shortly after the hike to Big Bald Peak I noticed my Benrus Ultra Steel Quartz was gasping its last and then died, or at least it appeared to.
This replica of a Vietnam-era, or even WWII-era military watch was, for me, the standard by which all other watches are measured. Clear numbers, accurate time, no frills. It was perfect. Now, after twenty years of faithful timekeeping, it was dead. What to do? Go without a watch? What, are you kidding?
So I began the search for a replacement and found myself asking why I bothered. Why wear a watch anyway? Is it really necessary since clocks are on nearly everything (phones, computers, cars, microwave ovens, etc.)? I was going to add VCRs to the list but realized that would date me, and most VCR clocks were always flashing 00:00 anyway but, I mean, it’s practically impossible to go anywhere without some reminder of what time it is. Is wearing a wristwatch just a habit, a fashion, an affectation? Coincidentally, I had read an article a few weeks before about how wearing wristwatches is a habit that is dying out.