Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Finally home

So it’s here.

My MINI had to go into the shop tomorrow (to get a check up before this weekend’s track event), so Kendra grabbed my jacket and helmet and met me at the dealership. Then, we made our way back up to Hiway to collect the bike. After a short wait as Mike finished up with another customer, the R5, in all her glory, was rolled out to the street. After gathering up paperwork, making sure everything worked, putting a little oil and gas in it, and paying the man, I hopped on, kicked her over, and stalled. Whoops. Another kick, and I was speeding out into the gathering dusk, leaving a thick greasy plume of blue smoke behind me. Poor Kendra - she was following in the convertible.

For my first ever ride in traffic, I opted to take Street Road all the way over to State Road as my way back to the Northern Liberties. I didn't think I was quite ready for I-95, plus that route also goes directly past the house in whose garage the R5 had been lanquishing these many years. All was good - the R5 is a bit jerky, doesn't really like cruising at a steady speed. But the brakes are good, and acceleration is pretty good. When feeling brazen, I could keep up with everyone at 50mph no problem (hey, what do you expect for my first ride?)

Street Road was fine, I stayed right and no one gave me a problem, or rode my tail or anything. Surprising, actually. The bike smokes quite a lot of stinky stuff, and it got pretty bad at the intersections with long lights. Didn't stall at all after the first few times coming out of Hiway's driveway (!) getting used to the clutch.

Got to State Road. Starting to get dark. This is another first. Nothing to do but grin and bear it. Kendra is still behind, somewhere in the smokescreen. It's taking a while because I'm going relatively slow. We wind our way along the river and eventually get to the more thickly urbanized areas of the Northeast. Almost home. Then, all of a sudden, we're stopped at Aramingo - repaving the whole thing. Damn! OK, turnaround and try some of the side streets. No go. Pretty much lost now. Everything leads to a dead end. Finally after some backtracking, actually manage to get onto Aramingo, before the repaving. They're letting people thru that way. OK. But then I notice everyone merging into one lane. Now, eveyone is cutting me off and snaking around me as I sit in traffic. Smoking like hell. Getting hot in my jacket and helmet. Once I finally am able to stop the hemmorraging of cars in front of me, I start moving... only to happen upon Aramingo completely torn up for resurfacing... exposed tracks, manholes, everything. Screw this. One minute later, I'm on 95.

And it's fine. The bike is up to 60 or so. Running strong. Felt great. Got off an exit later. Finally home. About four hours since I started. Absolutely exhausted. Forearms hurt slightly, a little from the clutch, but mostly from the vibration of the bike.

Lock her up. Cover her up. Go to bed, cuz I'm doing it all again in the morning!

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