I awoke early this morning from a cold nights sleep in the back of the Bean when my alarm woke up. I instinctively reached over and smacked the snooze button, aka The Drool Button. RTD promptly laid back down and we went back to sleep. A few minutes later the next alarm went off. Unfortunately it's hard to smack a robin, especially from the comfort of one's sleeping bag. Anyhow, as I said, I woke up cold... Where's all this global warming I heard about all last year?!! I was half tempted to fire up the Bean to contribute a little carbon, but even I'm not that big of an eco hater (ok fine... I am, it's just that gas is too pricy!!) Well I got outa the Bean just as the Park Ranger came up to get my tag #. So much for my plan to stay for free and sneak out! (Ok not really, but I must admit I briefly considered it... danged integrity... thanks Army...) We talked for a bit about his having been in the Navy, and my Army life. Then he headed off to kneecap the guy next to me for actually attempting to get out w/o paying, and I kept breaking camp. A few minutes later a retired Chinook pilot happened by and we traded stories, too. Never got his name, but to the CW5 who gave me $20, these five gallons of gas are for you! Finally I ran up the the sink area to brush my teeth whilst Rockstar barked loudly at everyone he saw. Ahhh the sounds of the great outdoors... Birds chirping... Squirrels squeaking... Retarded Boxers Barking.... wait what?!
Anyhow, we got on the road and headed back onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. Now I have to say this road is absolutely unreal. The speed limit is 45mph, which is great, and the curves are long and sweet. The BRP follows both the ridge up into elevations of 4000+ feet, as well as through valleys at just 1000 ft. The backdrop for this is rustic country as far as the eye can see. There is not an advertisement to be seen, and commercial trucks aren't allowed. The green mountains of Virginia rise and fall as you cover the miles, anxiously awaiting whatever breath taking view might be around that next curve. The 1st few miles for me were bright yet foggy, which made it all the more beautiful. About every four to five miles there are pull-offs where you can have a scenic view of the valley below, or the mountains above depending on where you are. While pull-offs are numerous, traffic was sparse at best and I passed more bicyclists that anything. In addition to the scenic views are numerous exhibits such as a pioneer farm, old train tracks, millhouses, and numerous others. The only detractor I heard of from anyone was while at a rest stop with a walking trail... I overheard someone mention something about a big ugly brown truck choking them out for miles while going 5 mph below the speed limit. There was something about saliva on their windshield or something like that. Luckily, I guess I never got stuck behind that jerk. Ahhh, the winds of fortune blow strongly my way.
Anyhow, on to the funnier stuff! While the humor is past tense, I was reminded of it today by a certain sign I saw. Now I've NEVER seen a sign like this, but my life would have been a lot more pain free had I have... See, before my crash I was an AVID motorcyclist. Rabid might be a more fitting word, but whatever. However, along with being and avid biker, I also seemed to develop a knack for ending the ride well before my motorcycle did. In short, I crash. A lot. Sadly, this was a trend that was foretold early in my life, when I was learning to ride. My first bike was a Honda 250 Twinstar, and I was about twelve. It took maybe fifteen minutes to lay it down. Yeah... that's not the shortest ride I've ever had. Or even the second shortest.
My dad got me the little Twinstar to teach me the fundamentals of riding, and apparently crashing. I took to riding very quickly, and crashing even quicker. The first one was just a minor slide out, which broke the shifter, and I was unscathed. After that, I did relatively well with my little rides, until we moved to TN. Once we got to TN, the bike needed some work, and after a few years of sitting around, I finally enlisted a neighbor to help me do it. Basically, the carburetor needed a rebuild, and we were just the guys who shouldn't have been doing it. It was through this little bit of mechanical apprenticeship that I learned one of life's valuable lessons; there should NEVER be left over parts. Ever.
Well this time there was, but at fourteen, that was irrelevant. The important thing was, I now had a freshly rebuilt carburetor. Well 99% of one at least! I somehow managed to get the carburetor back on, and actually start the bike. I was about to learn another valuable lesson... I got the bike started, and donned my helmet (safety first), and hopped onto my idling steed. I kicked 'er into 1st, and let out on the clutch, the bike managed to take off, and go up the tiny bump on my driveway, where I cracked open the throttle. The bike took off, me aboard, and the trees began moving closer. I let off the throttle so as not to hit them when lesson #2 reared its' head; always CHECK the throttle to make sure it works all the way, not just at idle, after messing with anything throttle related (yeah this applies to brakes, too...) Well with the trees looming like the defensive line of the Green Bay Packers, I decided to dump the bike. This was easily acheived by blindly panicking, turning the handlebars, and of course forgetting that most important part, letting go. Hello broken arm, how are you? And so began a long love affair of damaging my right arm. I got the last laugh, though, as now there's not near as much to damage! Haha.... stupid arm, I win again!
Well, I suppose that's enough for now... Needless to say, the arm healed nicely, and presented itself for many more future incidents.
Tune in sometime in the future for contuinued motorcycle mayhem stories such as "So there's scars on BOTH cheeks? Ouch!" and "My name? Oh that's easy it's...... Uh-oh".