Thursday, July 3, 2008

Last day in the chity...

Thursday, July 03, 2008
Day 0
Charlotte, NC

I treated today like I was going to be on the trail. Waking up early, packing my gear, going places, taking pictures, downloading pictures/GPS data, and finally writing a blog entry. The only difference: I’d be traveling in a big circle… in my Jeep, boring. But, one destination I had on my itinerary turned out to be interesting. I took my camera, but unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures. Having a camera on you where pictures are normally not taken is like a milder version of having a gun on your hip anywhere outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. It grabs attention and people wonder if you’re going to actually shoot it. I didn’t actually have the camera on my person today, but I will have to start practicing… and shooting ;)

Anyway, the interesting destination was Bruce’s Suspension ( Bruce lives on High Rock Lake; big, beautiful and wet... Bruce is smaller, not as beautiful (just kiddin’ Bruce) and has a very dry sense of humor (at least I thought it was humor, it may have been him wanting to wring my neck for trying to roll my Orangutan in there through the small door rather than the big door, sorry Bruce). But anyway, Bruce did exactly what I asked him to do and got the job done in 47 minutes flat and I think he only used a slightly more energy today replacing my springs than he used putting his hat on this morning. Bruce is goldmine full of suspension knowledge. If you live anywhere near Salisbury, you’re missing out if you’re not using his services.

So now I’m much more comfortable with my suspension. After loading all my gear up again, I decided to poke around the neighborhood to test it out. 10x better, but I felt like I could add a little more pre-load since my sag was slightly off spec. Not wanting to booger my shock up with my inappropriate tool, I ventured down to the nearest motorcycle shop on my bike to see if they could squeeze me in. I was sure a story of my planned adventure would put me at the front of the line…uhhh, no.

In Charlotte, there are about 3 major motorcycle dealer/shops (I have yet to find a smaller shop, let me know if one exists) and 2 types of riders. The $40k, chromed out, stretched, bling-bling guy and the weekend Harley-Davidson, Jap cruiser guy. Dual-sport enduro riders are SOL. My little sob story made no movement with the little service girl (who knew absolutely nothing about what I was saying) or the parts guy. I needled the parts guy into asking the mechanics if they had a spanner that I could borrow, but apparently, at this shop, they use channel-locks to adjust pre-loads on their shocks! LOL. They obviously have a spanner, just not one for the KTM guy.

Oh well, I’ll do what I can with a screwdriver and some duct tape tonight and just live with it on the road, it’s much better than it was before anyway.

Tonight will consist of changing oil, lubing the chain, checking tire pressure and adding a few more waypoints to the GPS. Here is the Orangutan all loaded up:

And, in case you were wondering, here are the maps and roll charts compressed down as far as I could get them:

After some debate with myself, I decided not to take these with me. That’s what I have the GPS for and if it fails (it is only hardware and software, you know) then I’ll have to use my trusty compass, point it west and just look for dirt!

As for the present moment, I’ve got the jitters and the feeling like I forgot something. If I smoked, I’d be smoking. But I guess I’ll just have to stick to pulling my hair out and walking around in circles…

I’ll be using my SPOT device tomorrow, but can’t guarantee a ride report, I’ll post it when I can… cya.

(I’m using a Word template to write these Journal Entries and will try to update this footer information each day. I’ll try to capture something each of my five senses to try to give you “feel” for what’s going on)
Total mileage: 0
Daily mileage: 118.1
Wildlife observed: Just a few city birds
Favorite Sight: A KTM 690? pulling a nice wheelie and then the little old lady honking her horn at him even though they were traveling opposite directions. Heh heh.
Favorite Scent: Gaelic Ale from Moosehead
Favorite Sound: That KTM 690’s exhaust note
Favorite Taste: Spinach Salad from Moosehead
Favorite Feel: My new springs
Ailments: Tweaked knees and ankle from riding a few weeks ago, nothing serious, but they could flame up tomorrow with the long ride. Itchy spot on my back, if it’s poison ivy…I’m in trouble.

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