Thursday, September 30, 2021

KLR 650 Multi-surface Ride, East Tampa, September 2021

Some of you might know that I bought an old 1998 Gen 1 Kawasaki KLR650 a few months back that hadn’t been running for about 15 or 20 years.  It was bone stock and had 36,000 miles on it. 

I’ve been doing some work on it: I had to get the carb cleaned up, I changed out the brake lines and pads, a rebuilt rear master cylinder and put on a larger front brake rotor… stuff like that. I’ll likely leave it fairly stock.  Or at least I won’t over-farkle it.  

Anyhow, I wanted to get it out and see how my tinkering efforts have been going and so I took it on a multi surface ride today.  I got onto some new pavement, some old pavement, some very bad pavement, gravel, sand, hard pack dirt, mud and some deep water crossings. It did fine on all surfaces. I have those Tusk DS ADV tires front and rear and I really like them. Sure, they dance a little bit on the pavement but they do great everywhere else.  

I went to through the small towns of Sun City Center, Wimauma, Fort Lonesome, Duette and Parish…a couple big loops really. I was just kind of testing out the different dirt roads that I could find.  

Today’s ride was only 75 miles total. My top speed was 95 per the speedometer, though it turned out to be only 91 per GPS. The bike cruised really well at about 75 MPH at 5000 RPMs and that’s where I like it.  

Anyhow, it was a very nice day to test out this bike and so far, so good.  I can see I still have to do a few things. For example, my boot wouldn’t get under the shift lever.  I’ve been riding around with flip-flops for the last couple months while I was working on it so I never had a pair of boots on; now I see that I do need to get an extended shift lever.

Now….to plan a decent overnight ride in some Florida backcountry! 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Brain Damage/Eclipse

People are funny,” said the man who sat next to me on the Southwest flight from Baltimore to Tampa this morning. 

I nodded and grunted somewhat of a response , wondering why he would sit next to me when there were plenty of other seats available. I moved closer to the window and focused on a crossword puzzle as he continued to speak...maybe to me, maybe to himself. 

“The world is going crazy. It’s already crazy! Just unbelievable.”

I subtly nodded, afraid that if I verbalized a response, he’d continue to engage me in conversation.

“It’s like that Pink Floyd song about losing your sanity.”

“Brain Damage,” I mumbled, as I turned toward him.

“And Eclipse,” he added.

“That’s right,” I said as I smiled. I might not be one for airplane chatter, but I sure like the Dark Side of the Moon album.

He continued, as I feared he would: “Hey, I’ll admit that maybe I’m the one who’s crazy. I’m the one who’s losing it. Maybe everyone else is sane.  I dunno.  I just don’t know...”

I pondered his words as we sat there in silence. The other passengers streamed by and stored their luggage as the flight attendants tried to get everyone in their seats. 

A too-big lady sat heavily in the open isle seat and struggled to buckle her seat belt. 

“I guess it’s just us,” she exclaimed as she adjusted the armrest.

“Yep. On to Tampa, huh?” And that was the end of that conversation.

My possibly insane or going insane seatmate seamlessly continued where he’d left off: “I mean, who’s to say who’s crazy and who’s normal? I feel normal. You seem normal. I don’t feel crazy. No one has told me I’m crazy. I suppose it’s all in my head.”

“What’s in your head,” I asked. 

The large lady in the isle seat looked sideways at us then opened the inflight magazine. 

The maybe crazy man just sat there thinking. After a few seconds, I determined that he no longer wanted to speak so I put my head against the bulkhead and tried to snooze.

I must’ve fallen asleep as I was nudged awake with, “Pretzels?”

My obese seatmate was holding two bags of pretzels in her big hand. 

“No, no thanks. You can have them.”

She opened and ate both bags as I groggily looked around the plane. My going-insane traveling companion was nowhere to be seen.  I thumbed through the airline magazine as I waited for the man to return. Had he changed seats or just gone to the lavatory?

After a few minutes, I turned to the big lady to my left and asked where our fellow traveler had gone.

While brushing crumbs from the front of her blouse, she responded, “Who, honey? It’s just us.”