Great Alaska Adventure: A Good Start
1000 miles down and only 11,500 more to go. Actually 1,034 and I’m only guessing about the 11,500 since my 12,500 mile estimate will probably be off by a couple hundred miles one way or the other. But the Key West leg of the Great Alaska Adventure is behind us and it was a good start.
In the Navy, a “shake down” cruise is taken by a ship before it sets out for a long-term deployment. It gives the ship’s crew a chance to–in some cases literally–see what shakes loose when the ship is underway at full power and vibrations cause equipment and parts to shake apart.
The Key West “cruise” we just wrapped up was our shake down cruise. I’m pleased to report that the bikes and their crew stayed together pretty well. No serious problems with either bike and the crew of each bike managed tolerably well with no vital parts shaken loose. Still working out some communications issues but I’m getting better at obeying commands with the alacrity expected of one in my subordinate position. The CB radios have some static at 70 mph, but they’re working a lot better than they did before I re-secured the cables on Marilyn’s bike prior to beginning the trip. The rain gear, donned at least briefly each day of the three-day shake down cruise, performed well, though Marilyn’s concern about bulky gaiters will be addressed Monday with the purchase of some simple water-proof overboots of the same style I bought for Hanna.
We forgot to pack a couple of non-essential items (shorts for Marilyn and Jack Daniels for me) that we’ll be sure to include in Monday’s packing for the longer leg to Fairbanks and back.
Everyone who straddles two wheels is reminded nearly every time they roll down the road that the pilots of cars are frequently pre-occupied with such essential activities as gesticulating wildly while talking on the phone to an unseeing correspondent, stuffing a greasy full-pound double cheeseburger with bacon into a semi-toothed mouth, or entering a trance-inducing zen-like meditation phase. This shake down cruise was no exception, but at least Marilyn and I were able to work on keeping two bikes close together while responding expeditiously with auto-bike collision-avoidance maneuvers. The Miami area seems to be well-populated with people who enjoy practicing vehicular weaving skills in their $80,000 sport convertibles using lesser cars and elderly motorcycle riders as mobile pylons. And the Florida Turnpike was a Talladaga-like NASCAR track except with no turns where all the drivers are drafting and everyone’s waiting for the “big one” that transforms expensive driving machines into scrap metal. If you ride, be careful out there.
Really, though, the Key West trip was a good start. Now we have a couple days in Orange Park to wrap up unfinished business, say goodbye to friends, make a couple last-minute purchases, get the bikes serviced and take a deep breath before cannonballing into the deep end.
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“I can’t wait to get on the road again.”
Location:Orange Park, FL