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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
(I began typing this story up Saturday night after getting home, but I ended up too tired and/or stoned to finish and so I finished and published Sunday night, Monday morning)

My wife had plans to visit her friend all day today. I slept in to the best of my ability to catch up on sleep. Around 12:30 pm I woke up. I decided to go for a motorcycle ride North to the nearby town of Wawa, Ontario. This is a common ride that members of my motorcycle club make, but they're on Goldwings, and my R is not a Goldwing. For the past ~7 years I've been unsure that I could make it. With my Go Cruise 2 (throttle lock) and Airhawk Dual Sport (seat cushion) already configured though I was ready to try it. It's approximately 220 km one way.

I searched my filing cabinet for my phone box and fished out a pair of wired earbuds. I stuck those in my ears before putting my helmet on. This way, I had a soundtrack to help keep from getting bored. I was wearing all the gear, as usual: Hi-vis textile jacket and black/white textile pants. Black leather boots and white leather gloves. White full-face Snell 2015 Scorpion helmet. The forecast temperature wasn't overly warm so I wore a pair of cotton pajama pants under my riding pants. I've found that this is comfortable if you get hot and sweat because it absorbs lots of sweat, but also if it's cold like forecast it would help to keep my legs warm.

I opted to start my phone playlist on Seether's "Gasoline". That has always felt like a muscle car type of song. Always gets me hyped. I used Spotify's "song radio" feature for the playlist. It was a pretty quiet ride. Relatively few cars. For tens of kilometers I was alone both ways. I initially tried to stay within the speed "limits", but I started out in a pretty hectic pack of distracted death metal. Despite already going the prescribed 15 km/h over the speed limit, I had several cars tailgating me to pass and go 30 over easy. It didn't take too many cars to compromise and more closely match their speed. This was risky because I can't afford the insurance premium if I got caught, but also this made it so much more fun. I'm sorry, but it definitely did. And I wasn't being reckless by any means. I was 100% safe. Aside from unpredictable dangers, like moose, which I completely ignored. But pretty much any risks I took were only really a danger to me. Or so I believe.

And there's always danger in motorcycling. I guess in that sense it's a little bit freeing. Once I was speeding things got a bit more fun. The further we went from the city the more cars had parted ways. By about halfway I was alone. This was also about where my familiarity with the highway disappeared. I had only ever been further up this highway one time a few years ago in a car. The leaves are already mostly changed, and this part of the highway is surrounded by mountainous rock formations. "Watch for falling rock" signs repeat along the last 80-100 km of the journey. Periodically you break away from the trees as the highway aggressively sweeps you out towards the shore exposed to Lake Superior (for those unfamiliar, one of the largest lakes on Earth).

This highway was unfamiliar to me, but I had an awesome playlist blasting in my ears, there were very few people around me, and I was casually rocketing around on a motorcycle with a throttle lock. So I don't forget, I have found myself operating the throttle with my index finger on the throttle lock to sort of keep the throttle lock synced. The highway that I'm on is full of hills, and so I need to make constant throttle adjustments to maintain my speed. By holding the throttle lock always on it means I can very easily make adjustments and relax again. This did on the way home cause my index finger to get sore from an imperfection in my glove, but I think it also made all of the hills on this stretch of highway more tolerable; I kind of managed to subconsciously balance endurance and performance, making regular adjustments to the throttle position and resting my hand whenever I could. I mainly remained in 6th gear even when rocketing past more conformative citizens.

This has to be the easiest bike to ride. This bike is so friendly I'm a little worried it's going to get me killed when I buy a different bike. I can't tell you how subconsciously I drop the clutch while downshifting, even while cornering. To the point where I'm basically counting on the engine braking because instead of causing a skid it's perfect, zero effort braking. What in the actual f***. I'm going to get on my first 600 and be dead by Sunday (not this Sunday, but the Sunday following when I get my first 600).

The performance of this bike impresses me. I know this isn't really a "fast" bike, but it's a pretty fast bike. Going 100 km/h in 6 gear you can twist your wrist and increase to 130 km/h in a few seconds. In another couple of seconds you can be going 160 km/h. And up and up and up to its limit with your configuration (186 km/h indicated for me, IIRC). It really doesn't take a long time to stop it either. My riding "form" is far from perfect, but I still seem to never have trouble. It always stops faster than I predict it can [with me piloting]. I have no ABS, but I never lock the wheels up. Except for the odd intentional tail slide in a parking lot to reminisce about childhood.

I don't think that I get anywhere near the fuel economy that you other people claim, but still I think that the fuel economy that I do get is great. I think that I spent about $23 in petrol/gasoline for today (cost ranged from CAD$1.03 to CAD1.13 I think). I also paid $15 for an overpriced burger and poutine, which I ate in the cold air anticipating my failure. But there was so much fun in between that I couldn't care less. The ride home ended up being even better. But first...



(Approximately half way, where I checked in with my wife)

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Along the way I had been updating my wife on my progress. I had told her I was doing it, not really asking permission, but communicating nevertheless. She didn't put up any resistance either. I had at one point rechecked the weather while on the phone with my wife to verify that this was a good idea. Rain had been on the forecast all along. My destination had a fog advisory notice in my phone's weather app, which under normal circumstances I would have taken SERIOUSLY, but for some reason I didn't even bother to open the notification. I just cleared it. The last 50 km or so were a bit of an adventure. The fog advisory was not kidding, apparently. It was about 3 PM at this point (I actually left home around 1:20 PM), but the mountainous formations all around me were beautifully adorned in fog dresses.

The highway in this area is surprisingly lacking shoulders. Much of it feels like it has a guardrail to protect you from a significant drop into a lake or rock formation on one side, and a steep hill on the other. There isn't really very much space to pull over if you wanted to. I actually did pull over at one point to close the vents in my jacket and pants because I was cold due to the 2 degrees Celsius that was lacking from my rise in latitude. The little bit of shoulder that I could park on must have been made for motorcycles because there were transports (tractors, freight truck thingers, "lorries") whizzing by me 20 feet away (20 feet feels a lot smaller with large, heavy, fast moving objects nearby that may be distracted). I'm kidding, of course. I know they weren't made for motorcycles. The highway just didn't have a big enough budget to build it AND make it safe. :) I don't mean to criticize it though. On a goddamn wannabee sport motorcycle with a narrow highway and nowhere to pull over it feels like a race track. There also appeared to be fewer places for police to setup traps, though that may have been wishful thinking only.

Then I passed through a portal. My visor was getting fogged up and my visibility was impaired. I struggled with lifting the visor and lowering it again over and over again while I assessed other options. I tried half up, but that didn't really work. I was getting pelted with water droplets. Down it was fogging up. I normally ride with all of the vents on my helmet completely opened. I tried closing the chin vent. Then the forehead vent. Still blind. I was putting the visor up periodically here to clear the visor momentarily. The visor appeared to be fogging up even worse with both vents closed. The vents on the top of my helmet were still opened, but I didn't even think about closing them, and I don't know why, but they are a strugglebus rally waiting to happen. Then I remembered that my Scorpion helmet is supposed to have a feature to raise the visor just a hair to clear the visor. Also sure to be like driving a strugglebus, but at least it promises to fix the problem. Surprisingly I got it faster than I thought I would. And it made all the difference. My visor cleared up, and I was comfortable and seeing as well as could be expected. I thought that I had dressed warm enough, but if I'm being honest I would have liked another layer here.

I rode into town and immediately stopped for gas. I had burned approximately half of a tank and so filling up was important, but it was a very small city and I wasn't sure if their gas stations were opened late, let alone with COVID-19, so I planned on the way up to fill up as soon as I got to town. The gas price was higher here, but I guess it's not surprising given the extra remoteness. I grew up in a small town, but where I grew up we didn't stare at people we didn't recognize. You wouldn't think we'd be that different. I suppose it could be because we were in close proximity to a real city, with town after town, and new faces were a common occurrence; but this town was truly isolated. Or maybe I was staring first. I don't think that I was, but does anybody think that they are?

After filling up my tank I tried searching for food options. There seemed to be no shortage of gas stations, and no shortage of available pumps, so I just left my bike blocking the pump while I perused my phone. Initially I had planned to rest for an hour or so at an eat-in restaurant or bar. I was really looking forward to a great, hot meal. Unfortunately, it took longer than I anticipated to get there. Mostly because I was slow getting my ass in gear while waking up. I checked the time, did the math, and double-checked the weather forecast. There was no way that I could beat the rain. That's OK because I had always planned to finish in the rain, but I didn't expect an hour or more in the rain. I was worried my visibility would be poor and I'd end up stranded in the middle of nowhere cold and wet.

I called my wife to discuss my options. There were several motels in town. Maybe I could book a room and stay the night. Really loses its luster when you're apart unplanned though. Odds are she'll be mad at me if I spend the night. Plus, it's only 4 PM. What am I going to do for the rest of the day? Buy beer and get wasted? It's a small town with little to do, and anything I do do requires me to wear a mask and get stared at by people probably concerned I've brought the virus. I can't decide on restaurants, but they all seem to be on the same main road so I decide to go for a ride through town to see if one jumps at me. Nothing stands out (ahem, marketing department), and I pull over by the end of town to rethink my next steps. Townsfolk appear to be cleaning up some sort of festivities blocking the road, but I don't see any signs to identify the occasion and frankly I'm too cold and desperate to care.

I decide to settle on fast food. If I am going to ride home I need to be quick. The only fast food options I saw were Tim Horton's, a corporate sellout doughnut shop that tries to pass off cardboard as food groups; Subway, which makes fine enough submarine sandwiches, but it's generally cold cuts and isn't really the "hot meal" I was dreaming of; and finally, "Krazy Fries". Though its name and online marketing wasn't inspiring, it at least seemed to promise a fast, hot meal. It was close. It was a short wait, warm meal, but I took it. My wife called while I was trying to eat and began to tell me every little detail of everything I don't care about. So annoying. Don't you hate it when people do that? 馃槈 I didn't want to be rude, but feeling defeated I had little patience for wasting my time. I took it anyway. Then I ate what I could of my disappointing meal. I told my wife on the phone that I was leaning towards staying the night. I figured the motels looked empty and I might get a decent price, and riding 2 hours in dreary weather was sounding unappealing (though I had started the adventure feeling cocky about riding in any weather). By the time I finished my food I concluded that I was going to try to make it home. I was dreading the social interaction I'd have to have with the motel clerk, during COVID-19, on very non-essential travel. And though it seems reasonable to give me the room for like $20-40, I was pretty sure it was going to be closer to $80. The bed would probably be hard, and the night would probably drag on. If I struggled through just 2 hours then I could be home, safe and comfortable, instead, and save money doing it!

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I informed my wife I was coming home, and headed back out of town. I made sure to hastily stop and take a photo of myself and my bike at the tourist landmark to mark the occasion before leaving. I concluded that desperate times called for desperate measures, and opted to be a little bit less concerned about police traps for the ride home. My primary ambition was to arrive without any major setbacks, like having to call a tow or ambulance, and I figured if I get a speeding ticket it'll suck, but it's not as bad as just dying on the side of the road in the rain... Because that was ever a possibility. Anyway, the foggy mountainous formations were extra beautiful on the way back through them. This time I had my visor figured out from the start. The roads were still pretty barren, and I embraced my speed. Despite the relatively dreary conditions, I felt supercharged. I had adjusted my soundtrack for the return visit. Not intentionally. I accidentally clicked something on Spotify while attempting to resume my music, and it lost track of where it was. Before I could navigate back I was enticed by a '00s playlist with Eminem's photograph for the album cover, and a diverse set of hits from across genres.

With my helmet properly configured already for the fog it was a non-issue. The mountainous formations with fog rings were even more beautiful the second time around. It seemed like after every corner that I came around there was just an empty straight stretch with no traffic calling to me. It was awesome. The weather really wasn't a problem at all. I only made one stop on the way back because I was trying to beat the rain. A car that I had been speeding with for the last 30 minutes or so pulled into a tourist spot and I decided that there was a chance we might become friends so I pulled in too. But we parted ways at the parking lot entrance and never saw each other again. It wasn't meant to be. I stood on my feet for a minute and texted my wife to let her know my progress. This location is only about an hour from home, and it's a familiar area. She was impressed with my time. 馃槒 She wouldn't have been if I had gotten caught though. I didn't waste much time. After a couple of minutes to pause I hopped back on the bike. It wasn't raining yet, which may have been a miracle from above because I think the forecast expected it to be. Not long after jumping back on the highway I lifted my visor for a minute (I can't remember why) and felt a raindrop hit my face. It was raining now, but I couldn't even tell through my visor. I was perfectly comfortable, and visibility was great. I thought about pulling over to give the oils in the road time to wash away, but I concluded that the rain was too light and I'd have to sit there too long. I opted to just push on and chance it.

I encountered a new speed buddy shortly thereafter. We stayed together until we got back to the city, passing any and everybody that got in our way. At this point I tried to slow back down again, being closer to home and more familiar with the area. I had gotten away with it so far and it was past time to count my lucky stars and stop pushing my luck. I decided when I got back into town to ride down the street to see if my wife was still visiting her friend. She was so I pulled in and texted her from the driveway. I'm not entirely sure why I did this. She told me I should come in, but I had no real desire to do that. I think I was imagining a group of people would be there and people might ask me about my ride and I could talk about motorcycling, but when I realized it was just them and the kids I realized it would just be awkward and boring. Haha. Another way of looking at this though is that I rode about 460 km in one ride and instead of wanting to go home and get off of the bike as quickly as I could I actually went out of my way to keep riding. Leaving our friend's house I decided to swing by the beer store because I did figure I would want some real beer after that long ride. I'm a recovering functional alcoholic. I normally drink grapefruit "Raddlers" these days because they're only 2.5% ABV, which is enough to get my fix without getting drunk. I couldn't get a 6 pack though because the beer store didn't stock them for my preference, so I got a 12 pack of Carling lager bottles. My goto favorite. But instead of going home to drink them I decided to drop them off at our house for later, and instead I went riding over to my brother's house to visit (and drink with company). After 4 beers and enough time to sober up I rode home.

In total I think I recorded something like 467.3 km on my Trip A, which I had started after filling up before leaving the city earlier that afternoon. I was hoping to get 500, but close enough. I had previously gone to Alpina, Michigan, which looks like a similar distance, but I had to stop much more frequently on that ride and I was much more sore. Last year I also rode to Petosky, Michigan which isn't quite as far. I had the throttle lock for that and my wrists were fine. It was only my buttocks that got sore. I think I finally figured out how to setup my Airhawk seat cushion properly. And now I have it permanently on the bike. Hopefully that means there are more day trips in my riding future.

I wasn't able to get many photos because I was busy riding. The few that I did get I can't publish because they won't upload to imgur. You're not missing anything though. My helmet is a few years old now so I might as well just stick a new GoPro mount onto it and start recording rides again. Alas, perhaps that's a plan for next season.
 

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Hey BB, thanks so much for the vicarious daytrip. Been a long time since I saw the Sault (or the Goose, for that matter). Glad you got home safe even if chilled: would love to see the photos when you get a chance to place 'em. Always good to find a nippy 4-wheel volunteer to be one's cowcatcher, as long as they don't throw too much spray. For next time, may I recommend two srsly good road tunes: Glorious Sons, "Come Heavy" and "Lightning".

Thanks also for the "upper limit" data -- I've always wondered how fast this bike would go but have never run the experiment. Still chuckling about a stop-light a few summers ago in Kelowna, when a kid on a Kawasaki pulled up next to me.

SQUID (in T-shirt and runners): What's your bike?
ME (sweating buckets, because AGAT): 2013 CBR500RA.
SQUID: How fast does it go?
ME: I don't know.
SQUID:

...So now I know! LOL

I agree that these bikes are very forgiving and can lull a rider. BUT in addition to wet road-lines, mine hatesss...lines of wet leaves or cedar fronds on the road. Fall rain brings them down and means I really have to stay alert and dodge them, or the rear tire will sashay <gkkk!>

Also wanted to thank you for the tip about visor/fog -- I have been getting fogged lately, even with chin vents open, and have resorted to riding home with visor up which is not optimal 'cause it's cold and dank, plus moths (I tend to ride home at night). Will definitely try the "hairline" setting with my Bell, had not thought of it. Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for commenting. :)

Imgur still won't allow me to upload the photos. And I never heard back from their support team. :rolleyes: Strange how it's so **** difficult to share photos between a PC and phone. In 2020. Why the **** doesn't this just work?! I broke down and uploaded the photos using this Web site from my phone. Updated the OP.

Thanks also for the music suggestions. Sounds pretty decent.

It makes me happy that the visor tip might have helped somebody else. :) It definitely made all the difference for me.
 
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I broke down and uploaded the photos using this Web site from my phone. Updated the OP.

Photos, thx!! That is a jeezly big piece of water, it looks like the seaside.
 

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Yes, exactly. It does look like seaside at many places along the shores that I've visited (though to be fair I've never actually seen the sea before in person..). And it has always been very cold compared to the relative air temperature. It was a "shock" getting in at many beaches. Compared to more typical lakes in the region you can definitely recognize the increased intensity on the great lakes. And Superior is the biggest and most intense of them all.

Max. length: 350 mi (560 km)
Max. width: 160 mi (260 km)
Average depth: 483 ft (147 m)
Max. depth: 1,333 ft (406 m)
Shore length: 1,729 mi (2,783 km) plus 997 mi (1,605 km) for islands
 
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