Recaps, Reduxes, and Radials

I haven’t blogged in a while, but it’s not for lack of things to write about.  In fact, I’ve had so many ideas I can barely get started before I lose my thought and get excited about something else.

But let me talk about the summer.  And food.  And motorcycles.  Well, since the motorcycle things is so big, let me just talk about that.

A while ago, I bought an old (1980) Honda motorcycle.  It didn’t run, but it maybe could run, if I kept at it.  So I kept at it, and with the help of Racing Smith Motorcycles up the street, got it put back together.  Mostly.

One afternoon I was out riding, or trying to ride as the case may have been, and I couldn’t get above 30 miles per hour.  Then the speedometer cable came unhooked.  At one point I noticed the brake lights weren’t working either and shouted to the wind, “I have a job, I don’t have to drive JUNK anymore!”  The next morning I went out to the garage and saw a puddle of oil six feet around underneath the old bike.  I decided then and there to go to the dealer and buy something new, reliable, sexy, and running.

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I bought something called an NC700x by Honda.  It’s a mid-sized motorcycle, practical, efficient, reliable.  It’s the same Honda that makes cars, so when you buy one, you get a Honda.

At some point I decided it would be a good idea to ride my new motorcycle up to MI.  To be honest, I decided I was going to do it before I even bought the bike.  I made my purchase with the trip in mind.  I even bought a set of luggage – which didn’t come in for almost three months.

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I began my trip at Happy Valley fiddler’s convention with my friends, and the next day got on the bike.  I stopped in WV to call the kennel and make sure my dog was fine.  My only photo of WV is from the turnpike, and I just hate the turnpike.

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It’s like people saying they’ve been to MI because they’ve been to the Detroit airport once.

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My destination was Erin and Mikey’s place in Columbus.  I stopped just south of town because I knew I was only going to see that very sunset in that very moment once.  I pulled off and got out my camera for the shot, and just lingered for a few minutes to soak it in.

E&M proved to be amazing and gracious hosts, and Columbus proved to not suck.

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They live in a part of town called German Village.  Lots of brick, cobbles, and charm.  We ate, caught up, ate, napped, ate…  It was a tough day.  It was great to see them again, and learn to not hate on Columbus quite as much.

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Time was short, so I shot up to Detroit to visit with my brother Nate and his wife Megan, and my eight month old nephew.  The photo is blurry because, even 3 minutes out out bed, he is a flurry of smiles and happiness.  It made my heart grow three sizes.

I then headed up to Flint to visit my friend Tamara, and then dinner with my friend Joe.  I don’t get to spend enough time with either of them, but it brings me great joy to know I’m still connected to fine and amazing people.  I don’t have any photos from Flint, but for the record: while the narrative of the lead crisis is horrible in its facts, it is insufficient.  The people there are amazing, and it’s a town with a lot of heart and character.

After that I drove over to my parents’ place in Grand Rapids.  I don’t have any photos from that either, but that was largely due to the non-stop motion of my sister’s sons and the availability of a pool.  I took a couple days to sleep and relax, do laundry, and drink from the many new breweries that have sprouted up.

And then, the camping trip!  I joined my friend Alaina with a group of her friends on a trip to Interlochen, where we pitched a tent in the dark.  I woke up to this:

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And this:

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Not so bad, eh?

It was at this moment that the Honda dealership called me to say that my luggage had come in, and I could drop by to have it installed.  I told them it would be a little while.

I joined my camping companions in Traverse City, where we ate all the food, and tried to stay out of the rain.

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We also drank fine things and tried to look important.

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After a couple days and only one night of sleeping in the wet, we parted ways and headed back to Grand Rapids.  I talked Alaina into taking the scenic route along the big lake.

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Everywhere we looked, it was more beautiful.

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I dried out at my parent’s place for a few days and headed south again.

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I’m always struck by the flatness of Indiana and Ohio.  There are moments where the roads, telephone lines, and corn rows all disappear into a single point on the horizon.  That never happens outside of high school art class.

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The flatness is huge.  It’s all around you.  If you choose to stop ignoring it, it’s kind of sucks you in.

I stopped in Fort Wayne to visit Justin and Drew, coworkers.  I spent the day working from Drew’s place, and we talked non-stop.  It’s nice to have coworkers around sometimes.

After work, I stopped in Cincinnati to visit and stay with my friend Jai.  I was really short on time at this end of the trip, so I don’t have any photos of Cinci, but again, I’m sincerely overwhelmed by the generosity and openness of my friends.  We did out best to tear up the town on a week night, while still getting to work in the morning.

Jai is one of my oldest and dearest friends, so any chance I get to pass through, I’ll take.

I spent my last day on the road navigating the back roads of southern OH on my way to WV.  It occurred to me along the way that I was making terrible time, so I eventually found the freeway and hooked up with the turnpike.  I guess there’s no way around it.  After 9 hours in the saddle that day, I arrived home.  I opened the door, and for one moment expected to hear the shuffle and grunt of my dog coming to greet me.  When it didn’t happen, I remembered she had spent two weeks at the kennel (she loves the kennel), and I felt homesick and puppy-sick.

It was good to be home.

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