Shrinking The Planet – One Ride At A Time

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Dim Castles, A British Military Tattoo, Strong People, Centaurs And Lots Of Scotch Whiskey

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted.  This time we stay in a dimly lit castle, discover the British Military Tattoo and find amazing characters after finding huge quantities of single malt scotch whiskey.  If you’d like to come along, you can CLICK HERE or cut and paste the following into your web browser:  http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-12#post-34523022

We hope you come along!

 


Barging Onto A Barge, Ferry Nightlife And A Rainy Castle Ride

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted.  This time we attempt to barge onto a barge, experience ferry nightlife and end up at a castle in the rain.  You can ride along with us by clicking HERE or cutting and pasting the below into your web browser:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-12#post-34371836

We hope you come along!


Ferries, Early Morning Beer, Carte Blanche, Road Racing & Hanging With King Julien

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been published.  This time we line up for more ferries, experience early morning beer, get carte blanche while road racing and hang out with King Julien.  It’s just part of the German and Dutch experience.

If you’d like to come along for the ride CLICK HERE.  If this doesn’t work, cut and paste the following link into your web browser:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-12#post-34291213

We hope you join us!


Ferries, Ducati Bike Service, Chili Beer And Viking Container Ships

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted.  This time we find a brain opening, get the bikes serviced, rescue a moto “hostage” and find container ships.  You can come along with us by clicking HERE or copying and pasting the below link into your web browser:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-12#post-34228059

We hope you will come along!


Two Men Screaming, Deep Thoughts and Blowing Bubbles At The Palace

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted.  In Norway we find two men screaming, think deep thoughts and blow bubbles at the Norwegian Royal Palace.  If you would like to come along, you can click HERE or copy and past the following link into your web browser:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-11#post-34160466

We hope you come along!

 

 


Viking Ships, Well Preserved People, & Light Rail Vehicles

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted.  We roll into Norway and right into Oslo.  Meeting up with our riding friend Bjorn, we find thousand year old Viking ships and artifacts, visit with some people preserved in metal and stone, ending up checking out light rail vehicles.

You can ride along with us by CLICKING HERE or cutting and pasting the below link into your web browser:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-11#post-33972528

We hope you come along for the ride!

 


A Centuries Old Sunken Warship, Ikea And Country Music

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted.  This time we visit a centuries old recovered and restored warship, make a “mandatory” stop at a Swedish Ikea and listen to country music…  in Sweden.  You can join us by clicking HERE or cutting and pasting the below link into your web browser:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-11#post-33942390

We hope you decide to come along!


Ancient Fortress Walls, Spicy Monks, 80 Year Old Women Riders And An Old Towne Faire

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted.  This time we breach an ancient fortress wall, meet faceless and spicy monks, meet 80 year old woman motorcycle riders and visit an Olde Towne Faire.  You can travel with us by clicking HERE or cutting and pasting the following link into your web browser.

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-11#post-33881665

We hope you come along!

 

 


We Encounter Mechanical Glitches, Black Bison, Slovakian Harley Heaven And Get Free Harley Fuel

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted.  This time we run into mechanical problems, find the meeting place of Black Bison, inadvertently find Harley Heaven in Slovakia and get free Harley Fuel.  If you’d like to ride along, click HERE.  If this doesn’t work, cut and paste the below link into your web browser:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-10#post-33330735

 

We hope you come along for the ride!

 


We Come Down Off The Mountain, Ride with Grimsel, And Dine With Fish

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been published.  This time we come down from the mountains of Wengen only to head back up into them and ride the Grimsel Pass.  We end up in the tiny town of Waltensburg, hang out with some of the Swiss National Ski Team and play with fish.

 

You can find the latest by clicking HERE or by cutting and pasting the below link into your browser:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-9#post-32779752

You will definitely enjoy this episode!  Come along for the ride!!!

 

 


We Walk The Royal Walk And Plummet Down A Mountain On Wheels

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted.  While this time we are off the bikes, we do the Royal Walk up a mountain and then roll down it on 3 wheels.  A very entertaining day.  We’re sure you will enjoy it.


We Find A Wine Cellar, A Beer Brewery, A Bobber and Mountain Cliffs

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted.  This time we end up in a wine cellar, check out a beer brewery and teeter on the edge of mountain cliffs.  It’s all in a day’s riding.

You can come along with us by clicking HERE  or by cutting and pasting the below link into your web browser:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-9#post-32691696

We hope you come along!

 

 


Deeper Into France We Ride, Thunderstorms, Ancient Villages, Wine And Road Construction

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been published.  We ride deeper into France and find thunderstorms, Ancient Villages, lots of wine and road construction.  Each had their fun elements…  If you’d like to come along, click HERE.  Or, you can cut and paste this link into your web browser:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-9#post-32654243

We hope you enjoy the ride with us!


We Attend Class At The Historic Le Mans Circuit Lesarth (24 Hours Of Le Mans) And Hang Out With Chickens

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted.  This time, we head out to the historic and famous Le Mans Circuit and check out the museum there.  Some amazing history with great exhibits from racing over the years.  If you like racing (and even if you don’t) you won’t want to miss this episode.  To see what we saw, click HERE.

If this link doesn’t work, cut and paste the below in to your web browser:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-9#post-32583130

We hope you enjoy!!!


Riding to Montreal, Shipping The Bikes and Landing In London

The next segment of our Planet Ramble has just been published.  This time, we ride to Montreal Canada to drop off the bikes for shipment to Europe.  We eventually get there and pick up the bikes.  You can catch up by clicking HERE or by copying and pasting the below link into your browser.

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-8#post-32481168

We hope you enjoy.  There’s much, much to come soon.

 

 

 

 


Rain, Bright Green Buildings, High Speed Cats, Fog & Barns

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has been posted.  This time we ride in rain, park in front of bright green buildings, jump a Cat, play in the fog, and stand in front of a barn.  You can find it by clicking HERE or by cutting and pasting the link below into your browser.

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-7#post-30988744

We hope you enjoy it.


Bulging Trees, More Cable Ferries & Shrimp Factory Ships

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has been posted.  This time we find bulging trees, more cable ferries, shrimp factory ships and more rain.  You can find it by clicking HERE or by cutting and pasting the link below into your browser.  We hope you enjoy it.

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-7#post-30958680


Crossing Into Canada We Find Craft Beer, A Very Large Bird, Thoroughbred Race Horses, Wind Turbines And Gravel Roads Along The Ocean

The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has been posted.  This time we travel from Maine into Canada and find interesting craft beers, a very large bird, thoroughbred race horses, wind turbines and deserted gravel roads alongside the ocean.  You can find it by clicking HERE or by cutting and pasting the link below:

http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/kim-mikes-most-excellent-planet-ramble.1151194/page-7#post-30818710

We hope you enjoy the latest!


Ride2ADV On The Cover Of The Manchester Union Leader

If you’d like to know a little more about us, check out the article in today’s Sunday Manchester Union Leader.  It was fun to be interviewed and even more fun to see it printed!

Click here to see it!


Bait And Switch?

Forgive me everyone, but I’ve got to tell it like it is and at the same time make a confession.  Each month I receive several opportunities to take a brief vacation from the day to day grind. This short diversion arrives in the form of bound and stapled glossy paper, complete with photos delivered come rain, snow or gloom of night by the United States Postal Service.  Yes, each month I am filled with the anticipation of the arrival of a pile of freshly printed motorcycle magazines. Like a kid waiting for his/her once a year present from a distant family member, the anticipation builds with each passing week until the next edition of the magazine arrives.

First days, then weeks, pass and suddenly it happens.  With a rattling stop of a blue and white beat up right side drive delivery truck and the squeak of the mailbox door, the excitement is repeated.  Upon the opening of the mailbox door, smooth glossy paper and sexy bright colors assault my senses and stimulate my mind.  It’s like a paper version of the anticipation of an overnight date with that supermodel you’ve been dreaming about for years.

You quickly glance at the cover and there she is. That new bike you’ve been lusting after, wrapped in silky paint and sporting voluptuous curves. It’s a feast for your eyes and food for your motorcycle soul. That cover photo freshly seared into the frontal lobe of your brain, you can’t wait to open the magazine and get to know her even better.

But then it happens. You open to the page where your dream girl is supposed to be waiting. There’s another picture, not quite as large and glossy as the cover, but still sufficient to send another rush of adrenaline surging through you. You gaze upon her and she seems hotter and more exciting than ever.

Your eyes move from the glossy photo to the accompanying text.  It can’t be, no it can’t be!  Beside the glossy photo and smaller randomly placed and tilted snapshots are a couple of captions and two little paragraphs of text.  To make things even worse, most of the text comes straight out of the manufacturers brochure!

Where’s the review? Where are the opinions, the comparisons and the road test? Where is the evaluation and the conclusion on how good or bad she is? There’s nothing; nothing at all for your brain. This can’t be!  So close and yet so far, they’ve pulled a fast one on me. They’ve pulled a bait and switch and I’ve fallen for it hook line and sinker. Again!

Motorcycle magazine publishers, I’ve long been an admirer. You’ve been like family to me, at times bringing me closer and tighter into the fold. But I can’t deal with the continuing heartache.  Propelled to a zenith by a big glossy cover photo of excitement and suddenly, unceremoniously dropped from the heavens into the pits of hell by the lack of data and the failure to opine.  I can’t put up with this forever.

Please, please don’t torture me any more. Your loyal readers and I are getting restless.  We understand that publishing is a business, and that you have to sell magazines. But you do your readers and yourselves a huge disservice when you print little more than a photo and a byline just to sell a couple more copies.

Leave the ill-gotten sales to the other guys and you’ll gain the respect and loyalty of a bonded community. Take the easy way out, and you’ll alienate us from your pages. Sorry to come across so hard, but when you care about something, we’re driven to tell you like it is and let you know that there’s a problem to be fixed. So step it up folks, there’s a line of faithful readers lining up by the door… and it’s not the entrance.

So what do you think?


Ride2ADV Twins Wander Europe, Where to Now? Chapter 22

When morning came, we were in no rush to get out of bed.  We both knew that our little adventure would end today.  All we had to do was to ride back to Barcelona and drop off the bikes.  Much of the riding would be on larger and more traveled roads, particularly as we got closer to Barcelona.  Neither of us rushed to get ready for the day, it was like without saying anything to each other, we were both trying to avoid the inevitable.  Our wandering adventure would soon be over.

“It’s almost over Kim.  I can’t believe we’ve used up two weeks already.  It doesn’t feel like we’ve been traveling two weeks, but I know we have.  Soon we’ll be back to the grind, doing our workday things and dreaming of another adventure.  I can’t wait until the next one.”, I said sullenly.

Kim, as always was more upbeat than me.  “We’ll be on another adventure soon,  don’t worry. We’ve ridden all over the world so far and there’s nothing stopping us from doing another adventure.  Don’t feel bad, we’ll be riding somewhere else in the world in no time.”

I paused and thought for a while.

“Thank you Princess, you always make me feel wonderful.  You are so positive about everything, you always encourage me to look at the bright side. I love you so much.”

I don’t know what was getting into me, but it seemed each day on this trip, I loved Kim more and more. I thought I couldn’t love her any more, but each day on this trip, the depths of my love for her became deeper and more vast.  I didn’t know how she did it, but she made me feel more in love with each day that passed.  I had to ask myself, “How lucky could a man get?  To be able to ride all over the world with someone who shared your love for out of the way places and have that travel be accomplished on a motorcycle.

I had to break myself out of my thoughts and get us onto the road.  We had a light casual breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant and made arrangements to have our bikes freed from the hotel’s garage.  Fifteen minutes later, we met the hotel receptionist in front of the garage and she opened the doors for us.  It didn’t take us long to load up the bikes and we were quickly underway for the last time on this adventure.

The ride back to Barcelona was very quiet over the communicators.  Neither of us said much of anything to each other.  I think we were both lost in our thoughts about where we’d been and what we’d seen.

As we rode, I was truly re-living our wandering adventure of Europe.  Even with an open visor, I barely heard the wind noise as it rushed through my helmet.  We’d been to new places and met new people.  The bikes had faithfully carried us wherever we’d asked them to never skipping a beat.  They hadn’t only been our transportation, they’d been our partners on this journey.  They’d introduced us to new places and even new people as the locals often came to us to chat about the bikes.

The miles melted away as we rode and before we knew it, we were approaching Barcelona.  But we wouldn’t arrive without one last adventure.  Less than an hour outside Barcelona, the winds began to rise.  They were not insignificant and they were not steady.  Heavy gusts pelted us from various directions, causing the bikes to shimmy and weave.  The problem for Kim was worse for Kim since she only had a little over her 100 body holding her bike in place.  Even with my 200 pounds on the bike, it was moving considerably.

It was actually better to have our speed up to make maximum use of the gyroscopic effect of the wheels to stabilize the bikes.  On a different trip, we’d ridden though the Chile and Argentina and faced the Patagonian winds on our way to Ushuaia.  Those winds were far more intense, but they were constant and on barely traveled gravel roads.  Here we were in four lanes of traffic with wind battering us from all directions.

But we soldiered on and soon found ourselves on the outskirts of Barcelona.  Now the traffic was heavy and we trundled along in the right two lanes.  As a sort of last challenge, we rode across a long high bridge.  Totally out in the open, we got the maximum impact of the winds.

The winds blew from all points of the compass.  In fact it blew so strongly that my head was involuntarily shaken left to right by the swirling wind.  This was getting a bit intense.  We knew that we did not have much farther to go and pointed ourselves towards the center of the city.  The closer we got, the weaker the winds became.  Finally, we were able to relax and enjoy the end of the ride.

We exited the highway, and quickly found the hotel.  We pulled up onto the sidewalk and parked the bikes.  I slowly got off the bike and pulled off my helmet.  I walked over to Kim.  As soon as she had her helmet off, I gave her a gigantic hug.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  What a wonderful ride.” was all I could muster.  “Thank you for coming along with me.  It’s been a wonderful ride.”  Kim just smiled at me and I could see that she was getting a little emotional.  Truth be told so was I.  We hugged again and started to unload the bikes.

As I unloaded my bike, I looked at Mr. Cotton.  He was still there, none the worse for wear.  He wore the same smile and accumulation of stubbly beard.  His left hand still had its homemade hook fastened with tie wraps.  He’d lost his first hook somewhere in Patagonia (but that’s another story) and he had gotten a new one while we slept.  He stared back at me as if to say, “That’s it?  We’re done already?”

We’d carried all we needed for the two week wandering of Europe, and now it was time to bring it back home.  Arms filled, we walked into the hotel with our gear and checked in for the last time.

After freshening up, we decided to grab a quick dinner in the hotel, pack our gear into our luggage and turn in early.  We had to return the bikes early the following morning so we could catch our flight back home.

When morning came, we put on our helmets and rode the short distance to where we had rented the bikes.  As I got off, I looked at Mr. Cotton.  He was still there, none the worse for wear.  He stared back at me as if to say, “That’s it?  We’re done already?”

I looked back at him, grabbed my little wire cutters and freed him from his place on my handlebars.  “Yes, we’re done for now Mr. Cotton, but we’re going to have many more adventures until you retire.  So you should rest up because this was an easy trip.  I know you yearn to be back on the gravel roads of the world and I’ll make sure that you have more adventures in more remote places next time.  I wouldn’t want you to jump ship like you did at that other cold place.”

I stuffed Mr. Cotton in my pocket and went inside to complete the final paperwork on the bikes.  Our hosts were very accommodating and had us underway in no time.  As we walked back to the hotel, our wandering adventure was truly over.  But as I told Mr. Cotton, there were many more places to go and ride.

All we had to do was to figure out; where to next?


Does Your Choice Of Motorcycle Helmet Say Something About You?

Over the years, things in my life have changed; a lot.  I’d like to think that as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned quite a bit, hopefully become somewhat wiser, experienced life’s ups and downs and generally lived the life that I wanted, to the fullest.  However, what is important to me now may not have been so important to me years ago and vice versa.

This came to me a little while ago as I passed through a small space where we keep the bikes and much of our motorcycle gear.  A part of the garage that we lovingly call “The Shrine”.  While there, I was hit with a revelation (pun intended) of sorts that over the years, perhaps my motorcycle helmets said something about me.  For some reason that resides deep in my subconscious, I’ve kept almost all of my motorcycle helmets as well as many of Kim’s.  Seeing them all sitting there lined up on the shelf, they spoke to me.  You’ve changed, you’ve abandoned us!

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They may be right.  What was the single most important thing to me when I was younger was high speed performance.  My fear of death or injury was practically nil.  I can recall pavement escapades that today seem like insanity.  Nowadays, high speed performance is not nearly as important to me.  I now know when I fall off, it takes longer to heal and it really hurts!  My focus is more on the ride itself and what happens during it, than going from point A to B as quickly as possible.  Pavement riding, once the sole realm of my motorcycle riding is now secondary, and riding the gravel or woods is what really burns in me.

So as I stared at the helmets on the shelf, they spoke to me without speaking.  Sleek, solid black Simpson Bandits in different versions cloaked with dark visors reminiscent of Darth Vader glared back at me.   Several Arai RX series helmets adorned with factory racer replica colors practically screamed high RPM.  The ones with the deep scratches from falling off during the years that I was competing in road racing told a story of excitement and falls.  Then there were the helmets painted to my specs based upon my somewhat bizarre sense of humor; including one with an attached 18″ black braid of hair which contrasted with my bald head. Finally there were the visor-less dirt bike helmets and helmets designed specifically for adventure riding.

As I stared at them, I think they had a story to tell.  They told me that my life had changed and my priorities were different.  Perhaps they also reflected the importance I’ve assigned to taking things as they come instead of trying to catch a glimpse of life fueled with adrenalin at warp speed.

So do our helmets say something about us, or was that shrine driven revelation merely a dream?

Oh, yeah; one other thing.  My current helmet is a fluorescent “Don’t Run Me Over” yellow.  What does that say?

Ride2Adventure – Shrink the planet one ride at a time.


Aerostich Roadcrafter Comparison – Standard Roadcrafter vs. Lightweight Roadcrafter Suits

It’s no secret that Kim and I have been wearing Aerostich Roadcrafter one piece suits for years.  You probably know that we really, really like them, so we wanted to be up front with our “bias” towards this piece of kit.  That being said, we’ve had the opportunity to compare and contrast the differences between the standard Roadcrafter one piece suit and the newer Roadcrafter Light suit.  We’ve literally ridden these suits tens of thousands of miles in extreme heat and cold.  We’ve also ridden them for hours on end in dry, damp, rain and bucketing down rain.  As such, we’d thought we’d offer our impressions of the suits.

Both of our original Roadcrafter suits have handled the years very well and we still use them on a daily basis.  That being said, we’ve been riding in hotter and hotter locations and heat has become a more significant issue.  Our recent trip along the Trans American Trail in the hottest, muggiest weather we’ve ever experienced, made checking out a lighter weight option almost mandatory.  Ten or twelve hour days in the saddle in significant heat certainly makes the riding more difficult and potentially more dangerous.

 So it was with some excitement that I ordered an Aerostich Roadcrafter Light for Kim for our wandering trip across much of Europe in mid July heat.  Kim has a pretty off the shelf size frame, so I was able to order one right off the rack for her in grey and hi-viz yellow.   It arrived in just a couple of days ready to wear.

The standard Roadcrafter is made with 500 denier cordura Gore-Tex with 1050 denier cordura in the ballistic areas (i.e. high impact areas).  Both these deniers are much thicker and heavier than the 200 denier outer layer cordura Gore-Tex of the Roadcrafter Light.  Aerostich claims that the Roadcrafter Light is has roughly two thirds the abrasion resistance of the 500 denier cordura.  They don’t publish the denier of the ballistic areas for the Roadcrafter Light, but it seems to be similar to the ballistic material used in the standard Roadcrafter, meaning it is very sturdy.

There are significant differences between the standard Roadcrafter and the Roadcrafter Light.  Think of the Roadcrafter Light as the evolution of the standard Roadcrafter.  According to Aerostich, there have been numerous improvements including:

  • waterproof zippers,

  • snap down collar,

  • removable rare-earth magnetic collar clasps,

  • water-resistant inner wallet/phone/iPod pocket,

  • adjustable impact pad positions,

  • inner pocket hook for accessory pocket

  • and a mini-carabiner helmet holder clip.

There are additional options, including:

  • Integrated Boot Raincovers,

  • Chest Impact Pad,

  • Chest Insulation Pad (Standard and Electric/Heated versions) can also be incorporated.

Having tried it on, Kim commented immediately it felt lighter than the standard Roadcrafter.  The difference in weight is indeed very noticeable and it is significant.  She also said that it felt ready to wear and exhibited none of that having to “break it in” feel.  We note that although the standard Roadcrafter has a brief “break in” period, it eventually becomes like an old pair of jeans; very comfortable.  Fit in the Roadcrafter Light appears to be the same and Kim thought it was quite comfortable.  Getting in and out was also the same easy procedure as it is for the standard Roadcrafter.

Since the Roadcrafter Light has some claimed improvements, we thought it appropriate to discuss them.  So far, the suit has been entirely waterproof.  There have been no leaks and none of the previously dreaded Aerocrotch.  The zippers do seem to have tighter teeth, but it has not effected the ability to zip or un-zip them easily.

The snap down collar (in the back) is easy to use and makes the collar snugger and easily closed.  As you may know, there are now strong rare earth magnets in the base of the collar and in the collar tabs.  They keep the collar down while riding so you don’t have to ride with the collar closed.  They are very effective, however, perhaps a bit too effective.  When you are suiting up and you want the collar up, you need to exercise a bit of care zipping up so that the collar doesn’t automatically fold down.  This is a minor annoyance and if you had to choose between having or not having the magnets, you’ll definitely prefer that the suit have magnets unless you are riding in the Antarctic and the collar always has to be up.  The water-resistant pocket seems to do it’s job, we’ve not seen any water in the pocket.

There is a very definite difference between the armor mounting in the two suits.  The standard Roadcrafter has a sort of inner liner that has sewn in pockets to hold your armor.  The Roadcrafter Light comes with separate pockets which you Velcro into the suit in the appropriate places.  While the pockets stay in place once you position, Kim has found that she has to use a little more care when putting her booted foot into the suit, especially on the right leg where it does not open all the way.  She’s never had an issue getting the suit on or off, it’s just that she needs to be more careful putting it on so that her boot doesn’t get hung up with the pocket.  That said, if you don’t wear armor, this is a non-issue.  If you do wear armor, it shouldn’t be considered to be a big enough issue to turn you off from buying the Roadcrafter Light.  Lastly, the inner accessory hook and the helmet carabineer are nice to have, but aren’t anything spectacular.

We did not order the integrated boot rain covers, chest impact pad or chest insulation pad so we can’t comment on them or how well they do or don’t work.

Overall, Kim really likes the Roadcrafter Light and now wears it most of the time.  If it’s going to be cold, she opts for the Roadcrafter standard, but in all other cases, she rides with the Roadcrafter Light.  It is lighter, fits the same, watertight and packs smaller than the standard Roadcrafter.  There’s really nothing not to like about this suit.

So if you are the type that always wants the most protection that you can get in a cordura suit, or you ride in mostly cold temperatures (i.e. 50 or below) you’ll probably want to opt for the standard Roadcrafter.  But if you are ok with having two thirds the abrasion protection, in a lighter, cooler suit for $200 less, then the Roadcrafter Light may be for you.

You should really check out both suits yourself, but we thought we’d offer you our perspectives.  Your perspectives may be different, so take the time to investigate what will work best for you.


Traversing The TAT (Trans-America Trail) Chapter 10

Riding the TAT we’d been in rural areas for quite some time.  But the deeper we ventured into Mississippi, we began to notice that we’d entered another level of rural and got the feeling that we had really passed into an era where time may have stopped for a while.

On the gravel, we found remnants of old farms and homesteads.  It was a little mesmerizing riding through this part of the country.  You could really get the feeling of old-time farming and people scratching a living from farmland carved from the thickly wooded earth.  Each farmer cutting down trees by hand and pulling the stumps with horses or oxen.

By the way, if you don’t know, click on any one of the pictures in the gallery below and it will open that picture into a full size picture and then you can click your way through the remainder of the pictures in either direction in full size.

Then suddenly, the farms disappeared.  Fields gave way to forests once again.  Forests partially relented and gave way to water.  We were in the true wetlands of Mississippi.  When I was a kid, we called these places swamps.  We weren’t in a swamp, we were in the true definitions of wetlands.  The swamps of my childhood were a smelly, litter infested, mud and still water mess.  These were different.

Green and brown never mixed in such symmetry.   The brown water was tinged with green and rolled lazily past the shores.  Trees sprouted from the depths of the water on roots that gave the trees a “standing on tip-toes” look.  The roots arched from the water forming a triangular base from which the tree trunk sprouted.  Although they provided a platform out of the water for the tree trunk, the moss-covered roots reached away from the base and dove into the water.  A clear sign that the tree needed water to survive.  These rounded tubular roots were a natural straw, feeding the ever-growing trees life-giving nutrients and fluids.    It was a great example of the circle that is life, be it human or otherwise.

We stopped to take a few pictures of this natural wonder and in the 30 minutes that we were taking pictures, not a single soul passed by.  We were enjoying our frozen moments, but we had to get moving in order to make it to the Arkansas border for the day.

Before we knew it, we had transitioned into back onto hard surfaced roads and farms once again began made began dotting the landscape.  Most were fairly large and crossing from one to the next took some time.  We had passed several and as we rounded a corner and headed down a straight stretch of road, we came across a somewhat immovable object.  There was a very large animal standing in the middle of the road.

Tracy had already ridden by the large animal but the rest of us were stuck behind.  Kim saw it before I did and said into her communicator, “Oh look, there’s a cow in the road.”   I paid more attention than I had been and sure enough, there was a very large animal standing in the middle of the road.  I muttered into my comm back to Kim, “Um Kim, that’s not a cow, it’s a bull.”  “Oh” was the somewhat unimpressed response.  But the bull wasn’t going anywhere fast and he was in a somewhat testy mood.  He stood his ground and stared directly at us.

Somewhat surreal, in a fenced field beside the road, a group of cows and calves stood at rapt attention watching and waiting to see what might happen.  While the cows watched from the side of the road, the bull watched us and we watched the bull.  We yelled at him and revved our engines, but still he remained unmoved.  Now we were stuck.  What could we do to get this bull’s attention and make him move?  After a lot of shouting and revving of engines, I decided that we had to do something different.  What could we do?  There was only one thing left to do.  I reached over to my handlebar and gave my NH approved street legal horn a blast.  Said horn was of the rubber bulb type normally associated with little children’s bicycles.

After about the 6th “honk”, the bull slowly walked to the side of the road and stared into the brush.  MaryLee took off in a flash and was past.  Kim and I revved our engines, I engaged the clutch and…  stalled my bike.  Great!  I immediately pushed the starter button and… silence.  My battery was now dead, it had given up but we hadn’t.  I kick started the bike furiously and it caught on the fifth or sixth kick and we were off.

With the bull facing to the right we rushed to the left side of the road and we were quickly past.  Not happy with trespass, the bull immediately turned left and started chasing us!  He followed for about 50 yards and then stopped.  But in the end, I guess he felt had to show his bull chivalry and put on a show for the cows who had been watching.

With the bull dispatched, the next item on the agenda was to try to find a replacement battery for my KTM.  I thought to myself, “Oh great, we’re out in the wilds of Mississippi.  Where are we going to find a motorcycle shop and better still, one that is familiar with KTMs.   As we trundled on, I resigned myself to kick starting my little KTM each time we stopped.

We hadn’t been back on the road for more than an hour when Kim called through the communicator, “Look on your left!”  I didn’t see anything and motored on.  She said “Turn around, there’s a KTM shop on the left!”  Amazed, I said, “What?  Did you say that there was a KTM shop?”  “Yes!” somewhat loudly she responded, “turn around we’re going to pull in.”

I made a very rapid U-turn and sure enough, it was a combination farm store and motorcycle shop, complete with KTMs!  I couldn’t believe our luck.  I walked to the back of the store to the parts counter and asked them if they had a battery for a KTM 250XCF-w.  Sure as heck, they did.  They also had oil, filters and other miscellaneous parts that would come in handy.  While I waited for the other parts I wanted, little did I know that Tracy had taken the battery, had it installed and I was ready to go.  Wow, he had done that in the stifling heat and had never said a word about it.  I was so grateful, I didn’t know what to say other than thank you.  True friends are amazing.  With a new battery in place, the bike fired right up and we were back on the road and hightailing it to our rest stop for the evening, a moored riverboat that was also a casino.  The best part, only about $40 a night.

As we motored on towards the casino, we decided that the heat was too much and we needed to stop get into some air conditioning and quench our thirsts.  We found a small roadside market and went inside.  There we met some of the nicest people.  One gentleman came over and sat down at our table and asked us where we were from.  We told him a little about our trip and he told us about himself, his family and his farm.  I was a great little chat, and I think he wanted to invite us over to his house for dinner, but just couldn’t get that part out.

It was just as well, as we’d walked into the market, there on the counter were two large gallon jars filled with picked pigs lips and pickled pigs feet.  Help yourself.  We just couldn’t bring ourselves to try that delicacy.  But others had enjoyed it because both jars were only partially filled.

Having had a nice chat and cooled of in the air conditioning, we walked outside once again into the thick and muggy air.  Kim was just finishing off her Coke when she decided that her “cool vest” had dried out.  These vests are made to cool by being immersed in water and then as you move through the air, the water evaporates and cools you.  “No worries”, I said, and quickly readied my hydration system to cool Kim off.  One of the nice things about my hydration system is that it keeps the water fairly cold, especially when it had been filled to the brim with ice cubes that morning.

Before she could say anything, I had the hydration system going and ice cold water was shooting out at her.  At first I don’t think she knew what to do.  Be angry or be happy that she was being sprayed with ice cold water.  Luckily for me, she liked it more than the initial shock and ultimately asked me to spray her all over.  But I must tell you, when the water first hit her, her expression was priceless.  Surprise, dread and relief all at the same. I was a wonderful sight and one that Tracy caught on film.  It is one of my keepsakes from the trip that she and I now both enjoy.

A couple of hours later, we were pulling into the parking lot with our dusty and dirty little machines.  We parked in front and went inside to the front desk outside of the casino.  After about 15 minutes, we had our rooms and headed to the bikes to get our gear.  We asked the doorman where we should put our bikes and he said, “Leave them right there, We’ll keep an eye on them for you.”  Wow, we’d never been treated like that and after gathering our gear to go to our rooms, we left the filthy bikes next to the sparkling clean limousines.    What a great scene!

Even better was our walk to our rooms.  To get there, we had to walk through the casino.  With people sitting at tables and at slots, we “moseyed” our way though.  Some people were dressed to the nines and we had our own attire.  Dusty riding pants and pressure suits were our wardrobe and they created a bit of a surreal picture.  I just had to stop to take a picture of Kim.  It came out wonderfully with Kim’s bright smile and dusty gear providing an amazing contrast to the well dressed people, flashing lights and ringing bells.

We’d had a long day, and it was time to turn in for a good nights rest.  For tomorrow, we would make our way into Arkansas and start another hot humid day on the TAT.