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Mjames

The ride home (or) The revenge of Mother Nature. Lots of pics. Lots.

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Mjames

I had escaped the cold and snowy Northeast but now had to get back -- there was work on my desk and a spoiled little pussycat to attend to. Not to mention a snowstorm predicted to hit the East Coast in four or five days that I wanted to get ahead of. Would mother nature be kind or take revenge on me for my escape?

 

Helping out was my personal meteorologist -- my brother Richard in Phoenix.

weathercommand.JPG

I spoke to Richard several times a day by cell phone as he followed my route on the weather map.

 

Here is Richard with his wife Barbara. After over 20 years of marriage they still act like newlyweds.

ricandbarb.JPG

 

As told earlier, I left Phoenix at 2:30 AM Wednesday morning, planning a long run to Dallas (1100 miles) or even Atlanta (1800 miles.) But it would not be that easy.

 

Although warm by day, the desert can be cold at night. This particular week was even colder as the temps fell down into the 20’s, and so it was by the time I reached Tuscon. And, then the breakdown in Akela Flats, New Mexico, due to an overworked alternator and fried battery. That meant no more Gerbing heated pants, no more radar detector, no more satellite radio.

 

By the time the Busa was back on the road it was getting late so I rode another 100 miles to El Paso and called it a day. Total milage only 430 and all of a sudden the map of the United States started looking very big.

 

I woke up in El Paso Thursday morning and started reassesing the operation. Had a recon phone chat with Texas police officer and fellow BMWRT.comer, Eric Foerster, and decided to take the more southerly route on I-10. I asked Eric if he could tell his Leo friends too turn the radar off for the day. He said he’d do what he could.smile.gif

 

Then I finished my letter to the honorable Katherine Wiseman. Judge Wiseman was offering me probation if I didn’t get any more speeding tickets for 60 days. And, oh yes, pay a hefty surcharge.

 

"I promise not to speed anymore…I promise not to speed anymore…I promise not to speed…"

DearjudgeJPG

 

It also became clear I needed something warmer to wear. It came in the form of a First Gear one-piece insulated rain suit at a local Kawi dealer. We got into the usual Busa versus ZX-12r discussion, and I politely listened to their version of life. smile.gif

 

Well, all this nonsense took up time so it was a late start. On top of that I felt like a slug since awakening. The result was that I only made it just East of San Antonio, 430 miles away. I could hear Mother Nature chuckling at my slow progress.

 

Friday, I intentionally took a late start due to the cold morning temperatures. I only made it 341 miles to Lake Charles, Louisiana, spending hours in a massive traffic tie-up around Beaumont. This was my lowest daily mileage of the trip. Mother Nature’s chuckle was turning into laughter.

 

Saturday morning I woke early but everything was different. I felt recharged both in both body and spirit. The map looked smaller today and I circled as targets both Atlanta (1000 miles) and NYC (1500 miles.) Then I looked at what Mother Nature was up to. Temps would be in the teens by nightfall in Atlanta. Interesting…but I’m starting to get used to her tired tricks. smile.gif Not only am I going to get to Atlanta but I’m going get an Iron Butt certification, as well…I’ll teach her not to mess with a New Yorker!

 

So I rounded up a couple of witnesses at the motel who were attending a power squandron convention, and I was off.

 

In reality I knew I was playing a game. By leaving Lake Charles at noon meant I would hit temperatures in the teens only six hours later.

 

Traveling at a Burner Gold pace (500 miles every eight hours)

I would therefore be riding in sub freezing temperatures for

at least five hours to reach Atlanta and 18 hours to reach NYC. I knew I couldn’t do it but the game was to pretend to try.

 

I left Lake Charles like a bat out of *&^% and just kept flying. The roads were good…I stopped only for gas…ate on my feet…and had some very fast rabbits, including a pretty young lady and what turned out to be a tipsy SUV driver -- each going well into the triple digits. It was cold out but today it wasn’t getting to me -- in fact it seemed to be making me stronger.

 

Cold weather requires you eat frequently and from each of the three major food groups: Fat, salt and sugar. smile.gif

threefoodgroups.JPG

I found this combination every couple of hours worked pretty well.

 

Following my shadow.

followingshadow.JPG

 

Like a Bat out of *&^%

whizzing.JPG

 

By six PM my radio shack thermometer registered 32 degrees. Within an hour it seemed frozen at 11 degrees even it wasn’t quite that cold.

frozenthermo.JPG

The thermometer has remained at 11 degrees until the present. My theory is that since it’s an Arizona bought thermometer, it just went into shock being unaccostomed to cold weather.

 

shutter.JPG

In a sympathy move, the shutter on my new digital camera (also from Phoenix) also became frozen in a partially closed position and I lost many shots like this one. I had to physically push the shutter back with my glove to get a complete picture from then on.

 

So the thermometer was frozen…the camera frozen…what next? smile.gif

 

By the time I was north of Atlanta I was averaging over 80 mph, including stops and was actually thinking NYC (1500 miles) in under 19 hours from Lake Charles. That would put me there at 9AM. It now seemed possible…just had to ride through the night… Mother Nature move out of my way. smile.gif

 

It was around that time I called Marty Hill, a BMWRT.com member who previously extended me a warm invitation.. I told him I was pushing through.

 

Then it started snowing. I could hear Mother Nature howling.

 

I pulled off the road and called my meteorologist, brother Richard, who said the roads North were all marked "Red" and 1-2 inches were predicted for the Knoxville Area.

 

A nearby trucker advised heading South on 75 go get away from the snow and then cut over to 95 and ride up the coast which had a lower elevation.

 

I was quickly losing my bravado.

 

My voice must have sounded angry because Richard kept repeating the bad weather wasn’t his fault.smile.gif Then I started to laugh. For some reason the whole thing started becoming very, very funny.

 

OK. South it is…hey, what’s another couple hundred miles out of my way at this point? Now I’m in robot mode – somewhat but not fully acknowledging the inevitable.

 

The snow followed me for about half an hour, then came the winds, and then my head started to get cold even though I was wearing the very warm and excellent Arai full-face insulated with the hardcore helmet hoodlum. Immediately I knew it was time to pull in for the night. Mileage about 800 -- so much for the Iron Butt 1000. Or was it? I then realized that I had until Noon Sunday to complete the mileage.

 

Seven AM and I was back on the road feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Finished off the two hundred miles well before noon…got my witnesses and headed for New York. In another 500 miles I could pick up the Bun Burner 1500 (1500 miles in 36 hours.) Take that, Mother Nature. [smile]

 

So it was 75 South to 85 North and then to to 95 North.

 

At points, 85 North was looking a lot like 85 North Pole.

85Northpole.JPG

 

Route 95 is a sorry excuse for an Interstate if I ever saw one. Bad paving, trucks, no consistent traffic flow. If they had road this ugly out West they would just shoot it. But the traffic was as fast as it was erratic, giving me a quick pace and keeping me on my toes more than I wanted to be for such a long ride.

 

The night lights of Baltimore.

baltimore.JPG

 

Ahead of schedule I passed the 500 mile mark, qualifying for the Bun Burner 1500….. and kept pushing for New York City. Then it got colder and colder and colder. In fact, one of the coldest nights of the year.

 

I considered gutting out the next two hours to New York City but hypothermia isn’t something you want to voluntarily flirt with.

I know how my body reacts to the cold from skiing and kayaking and felt very close to this side of safety. I pulled into the Howard Johnson Motel in Bellmawr, New Jersey just 100 miles south of the city.

 

busaroom.JPG

I got a nice big room at the Bellmawr Hojo’s, but the Busa gets an even a bigger one. Unmesh, the night receptionist, is a Gixxer man and knows how to take care of family. His cousin rides a R-6. We’ll all ride together when things get warmer.

 

I later asked Unmesh to be my Iron Butt witness but he must have misunderstood me. "Look, I’m happy to help you out, but I ain’t signing no one’s Butt!!!"

nobuttsign.JPG

 

After straightening things out Unmesh signs the witness form.

okisign.JPG

 

Monday morning I woke up feeling great, really don’t know why. smile.gif The weather forecast was for possible snow flurries in the morning and then sunshine. Hey…only had 100 miles to go. But thirty minutes into the ride, Mother Nature took her final swipe at me.

 

Yup, that looks like snow flurries ahead.

snowahead.JPG

 

The "flurries" were really a flash snow storm and blinded me completely. I had to pull off at the first exit. On top of that the winds kicked up and the Busa started rocking on the now slippery roads. "Easy Busa…Easy girl." But thirty minutes later the sun came out and I was back on the road.

 

Waiting out the "flurries"

waitingforflurry.JPG

 

Getting Close

gettingclose.JPG

 

Closer…Mr. Lincoln’s Tunnel.

tunnel.JPG

 

Entering the Isle of Manhattan

enteringcity.JPG

 

It had been a while, and the lanes had to be split. I do love New York.

lanesplit.JPG

 

At just over 10,000 miles on the clock, my seven week old Busa was overdue for service, so first stop was the local Suzuki dealer.

nyservice.JPG

The smilin’ guys are Pedro the service manager and Carlos the mechanic behind him. For some reason, they kept checking and re-checking the odometer.smile.gif

 

Busa in good hands, so it’s time to head to my apartment.

cab.JPG

Thinking my bags meant an airport fare, three cabs risked life and limb trying to get my fare. The driver looked a bit disappointed after the twenty block ride so I gave him a big tip.

 

I was met by my SO at the door. "Leave me again like this" she says, and you’ll find out if your butt is really made of Iron."

welcome.JPG

 

Then the bell rang, and it was Carlos the elevator guy. Seemed like Mr. American Express and MS Visa missed me a lot.

yourcreditcardbills.JPG

 

After peeling off my clothes for the first time since I left Louisiana, I noticed a peculiar odor in the room …. Immediate action was required. smile.gif

shower.JPG

 

Thank you Mother Nature for letting me back in. You made me work for it but in the process you made me stronger. Haven’t felt this good in a long time.

 

A wrap up to follow…

 

 

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cactusrider

Micheal,

 

Thanks for letting me live vicariously via your great postings.

 

Sorry I missed you during your trip out West.

 

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ChrisNYC

Fantastic.

 

 

 

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PeterScottNJ

Welcome Home! mjame's great adventure - won't make a movie, but it will certainly be something to remember.

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Ralph

What a story. Sure glad I made this trip wicha! smile.gif

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Mjames

Peter,

 

I just noticed you've made "moderator." Congratulations! I'm sure you will do the board proud with your intelligence and dedication.

 

But does this mean I have to clean up my language when we go riding together from now on? smile.gif

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russell_bynum

I have nothing to say except:

You rock!

Holy sh*t!

and

Awesome!

 

We bow down in your presence.

 

WE'RE NOT WORTHY! WE'RE NOT WORTHY!

 

laugh.gif

 

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SCOTTinNJ

You da man!

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leikam

Glad you made it home in one piece. So when's the next tour?

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Mjames

So when's the next tour?

 

I'd be out of here tomorrow if I didn't have to earn a living. The road is very addicting and one trip I took a long time ago lasted almost a year. I want to do another trip like that again, but it will have to wait a bit.

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poops

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!

You are the the MOFO!!

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PeterScottNJ

They decided you needed a full time moderator of your own, so I was drafted laugh.gif . Now I go to bed between about 11 and midnight, so behave yourself after that laugh.gif.

 

I leave my moderator hat at the keyboard, and don't ride with my PC mounted on a RAM so you'll be safe then.

 

Again, welcome home - great tale - followed your whole adventure. Very cool.

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KTM Doug

Glad you made it home safe & sound. Hope Linda and I get to meet you again down the road sometime.

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HalfPint

WE'RE NOT WORTHY! WE'RE NOT WORTHY!

 

Glad you're home safe & sound. Amazing how quickly NY went from flurry to blue sky! Oh, in my best AOL voice: "YOU'VE GOT MAIL!"

 

Let me know if ya want a guy to do a free product eval on those JR bags... wink.gif

 

Sure hope to meet up with you someday, and thanks for letting me tag along. It was great!

 

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Mjames

Let me know if ya want a guy to do a free product eval on those JR bags...

 

Halfpint,

 

The Joe Rocket bags are now at the Phoenix dealer. I am still waiting to hear if they will take them back. Apparently they have to "clear" things with the JR rep in spite of the fact that I purchased an expensive Arai helmet from them, bought a tire, had a 5K service and bought other doodads. Not a great return policy here. smile.gif

 

If they don't accept the return, the bags will be for sale. I paid around $150 for them, so I guess $100 would be a good used price as they are hardly used. They are a great value as luggage goes and very good quality. The problem is they are a bit of a PITA to go on and off--at least with the Busa since the bags are generic. They might work better with other bikes.

 

The other problem is that the zipper is toward the inside of the bag, meaning that if you use bungie cords, etc., to supplement the tie-on's, they must be removed in order to access stuff inside the bags. You also need rain covers (included) for any substantial rain but that may be the case with all soft bags -- don't know, these were my first. Personally, I think the Ventura Rack system is better but it does cost 3-4 times as much.

 

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RichEdwards

Thanks for sharing your story. You are one tough SOB.

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Voodoo

Splendid...simply splendid. smile.gif

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Marty Hill

MJames.....

 

Your nuts and that's wonderful. What a ride!!!

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Pilgrim

Outstanding, and impressive, James.

 

I used to be proud in a weird way of having ridden from Port Huron, Michigan to Denver about this time of year in 1980, but I see now it was just a day ride, so to speak.

 

Pilgrim

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BamaRider

MJ- Helluva ride brother. You're right, the road is very addictive. My helmet is off to ya.

 

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bigfoot

A great tale of a great ride. I wish I knew you were coming to Lake Charles, since I live here. It would have been good to meet you and I could have directed you around that little daily traffic tie-up. Glad you made it home safely, and look forward to meeting you in Eureka Springs.

 

 

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Mjames

Pligrim wrote: Outstanding, and impressive, James.

 

Pilgrim, anyone planning on hiking in and out of the Grand Canyon at your (our smile.gif ) age shouldn't be impressed by anything. I'm huffing and puffing just thinking about it . smile.gif Did you go yet? If so, how long did it take to recover. laugh.gif

 

Bigfoot wrote: ]It would have been good to meet you... I could have directed you around that little daily traffic tie-up

 

Bigfoot,

 

I could have used a local guide. smile.gif It took me close to an hour to push through and that was with lane-splitting. I assume it's OK to split in that area (Beaumont?) since some locals in a pickup told me to go ahead. Sorry I missed you -- catch you next time through. BTW if that's you in the Avatar, maybe u could give me some wheelie/stoppie lessons sometime. smile.gif

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Mjames

Welcome Home! mjame's great adventure - won't make a movie, but...

 

Well, not so fast Peter. smile.gif While not an exact look-a-like, I hear Cubing Gooding Jr. may be up to the part and he certainly has the experience from his latest role in Walt Disney's movie "Snow Dogs".

141329-wk-snowdogs.jpg

And since from a previous post, you have the amusing notion that you are so much younger than me smile.gif , I would want you to play my long, lost son that I accidently run into while lane-splitting in New Jersey (Hollywood likes to add these kind of things. smile.gif )

 

Read about:

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Pilgrim

MJames said:

Pilgrim, anyone planning on hiking in and out of the Grand Canyon . . . Did you go yet? If so, how long did it take to recover. color=blue>

 

Drop by this URL for a report:

http://www.wildwestcycle.com/thecanyon.htm

 

Recovery time, surprsingly enough, was only hours.

 

Pilgrim

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DHop

You are indeed the man. I too am living vicariously through you my big cahoona carrying friend. Thanks so much for putting so much into this post. Really enjoying it.

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Laura

F A N T A S T I C !!!

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algover

Bravo!! Totally awesome, Michael. A real Odyssey (or is it Oddity smile.gif), both in execution and write-up.

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Mjames

It all started because I wanted to take a long, hard ride on my new Hayabusa. The holidays gave me the opportunity. My brother’s invitation to visit him in Phoenix gave me the destination.

 

The weather first became an obstacle, later a challenge, and finally a cleansing spirit.

 

I want to thank all of you who have supported me with your kind words and warm invitations. My only regret is that I couldn’t have made more stops, and met more of you in person. This I hope to do in the future.

 

Take your rides when you can. Time is precious. Tomorrow may not always be there.

 

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SCOTTinNJ

Take your rides when you can. Time is precious. Tomorrow may not always be there.

 

But, it's so *&^% cold!

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Mjames

<<Mjames: Take your rides when you can....Tomorrow may not always <<be there.

 

<<<ScottinNJ: But, it's so *&^% cold!

 

laugh.gif

 

That statement was not to be taken too literally. smile.gif It was four degrees in CT last night when I rode my jeep back to the city. PS I hit a bumpy section in the road and immed started to stand up on the"pegs" ...very strange smile.gif

 

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Letmedrive

What a great write up and the pictures were awesome! As many mentioned you are one tough S.O.B. I went cross country in my pickup truck once in 2 days and thought I was done for. I can't imagine it on your Busa! You're the man. I'm in planning stages for the 50 national parks ironbutt ride. Soon I hope! I did the ss 1k 2 years ago and I've upgraded bikes since. I plan on taking lots of pictures and logging my experiences each night during the ride. Thanks for the ooohs and ahhs.....

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LJR

It seems as though you have found a bike that fits your personality. Or perhaps it inspired you to be bold and take a leap with this trip. I'm sure you do not regret it.

 

Your trip lifted our spirits as we followed your adventure across the country. Hopefully some will be inspired to leap to their own adventure.

 

Time IS precious.

 

Ride safe, Ride well

 

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Mjames

Letmedrive:I'm in planning stages for the 50 national parks ironbutt ride...Soon I plan on taking lots of pictures and logging my experiences each night during the ride.

 

Sounds great! Lookforward to your nightly reports...and if our paths bring us close...look forward to maybe being in one of those reports. smile.gif

 

LJR: It seems as though you have found a bike that fits your personality.

 

Yes, certainly an aspect of it. Bikes are like that. My RT is one part of me..the K75 another...and, of course, the Busa.

 

Each has its own personality that fuses with a part of me. Of course, I once owned 11 kayaks (down to 7) so I know this this bike personality thing can get kinda expensive. smile.gif

 

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Dr. Zim

WE'RE NOT WORTHY!!!!

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PaulGuy

Michael,

Welcome back and congratulations on your accomplishment. I've been following you here the whole way and frankly I'm in total awe. Impressed doesn't even cut it. The ride, the almost daily coverage, it was like watching it on CNN just an amazing job. Brought some real juice to an otherwise boring winter. Look foward to seeing you again.

 

Paul

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Deadboy

It is mjames' world, the rest of us only live in it....

 

Awesome trip man, enjoyed the good read and excellent photos.

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Smoky

What an awsome trip! I am so impressed. So many hardships,

season, distance, timing, new bike, all the rest.

 

However, if he had made the trip on the RT and not the 'Busa,

would it have been as inspiring? Was

the challenge the ride, or the trip? It was a winter trip

that had harse conditions, but would it have been

more routine on the RT?

 

Just pondering...

 

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Mjames

It was a winter trip that had harse conditions, but would it have been more routine on the RT?

 

Smoky,

 

Excellent question. In fact, one of the reasons I did the trip on the Busa was because I knew it would be more challenging -- and, as you've probably guessed by now, I like challenges -- of course I didn't think it would be THAT challenging smile.gif Keep in mind I didn't plan a winter trip. I just wanted to take a trip and it happened to be winter.

 

But hey, it would have been a great trip on any bike, or car for that matter, any season. Just not as personally challenging.

 

Was the challenge the ride, or the trip?

 

You know, things just developed. Intially, I just wanted to take a trip to visit my brother and combine it with a nice, long ride on my new bike. Just a couple of days between seriously thinking about it and leaving town.

 

I did have a 600 mile cold weather "prep" ride under my belt, I did get the bike serviced the day before I left, and I did spend several hours looking at weather maps to convince myself it could work -- but I really didn't make a mega deal about it. Picked up stuff I needed along the way -- digital camera, soft bags--later a rack system, music, better riding pants, etc.

 

So to answer your question, intially the challenge was the trip but it quickly turned into a very challenging ride. I felt like I got bonus points smile.gif

 

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doc47

Hard Core, dude! Glad you made it home safe.

 

BTW, how do you manage 80 mph average and avoid the LEOs??? I don't seem to be able to push Marlene out of the garage without an award........

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Mjames

BTW, how do you manage 80 mph average and avoid the LEOs???

 

First, I didn't manage to avoid the Leo's. Evidence -- my big ticket in Big Springs, Texas. frown.gif Also, after recalculating things for my Iron Butt certifications, even though I did a lot of triple digit running on I-59, the 80mph figure was closer to 70mph, given gas stops every at least every150 miles plus warm-up and rest stops.

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murrayg

In the middle of winter you leave New York City and travel to the West Coast and back and you don't freeze to death or get snowed in?crazy.gif Mjames you're living right and are being watched over. Great trip and tale. Thanks for all the pictures and taking us along on your trip of a life time or at least until you blast out on the Batmobile again. Too cool.gif for words.

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algover

Looking through this again, I just noticed, on page 1 of this thread, the picture captioned "Waiting out the "flurries", .... is that the international "slow vehicle" triangle on the back of the 'Busa? laugh.giflaugh.giflaugh.giflaugh.gif What's with that??!!! laugh.giflaugh.gif

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Mjames

.. on page 1 of this thread, the picture captioned "Waiting out the "flurries", .... is that the international "slow vehicle" triangle on the back of the 'Busa? What's with that??!!!

 

Ah...the triangle on the back of my Ventura Rack luggage system...it's just there to remind the rest of the traffic how slow they are. wink.gif

waitingforflurry.JPG

 

 

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