The Evolutionary Process

Everything Changes. Nothing remains the same for long. These connected rules apply to every aspect of life, including our passions and what we do as well as how and why we do things.
Two weeks ago I encountered this evolutionary process in clear display while riding to Washington DC to take part in the Rolling Thunder Memorial Day events.  I was riding across U.S. 30 in eastern Ohio.  The current route 30 is now a divided four lane limited access highway. This new expressway replaced old US 30 recently.   Old 30 being  mostly a two lane federal highway, though parts of it were four lanes.  Old 30 itself had replaced the 1928 version of the Lincoln Highway. which had replaced the 1918 version of the  LH, which had replaced the original 1913 version. What is remarkable is that the last three versions of this road across American had completely different roadways. It wasn't simply upgrades to the same road, it was the building of completely new parallel roads for the most part because the 'old technology' was so out of date that it couldn't be simply updated, it had to be totally replaced. 
Today it is hard to find remnants of the original 1913 Lincoln Highway as originally conceived and laid out by Carl Fisher, an Indianapolis automotive entrepreneur who knew that the future of the budding automotive industry a century ago depended on the construction of roads more than on the construction of more automotive factories.  Kind of along the same theory that without cell towers, cell phones are pretty worthless.
As I was riding in the cold wind and under dark scudding clouds just barely off the deck, I saw a motorcyclist along the side of the road up ahead.  Now I still believe and generally follow a cardinal rule of motorcycling learned in the 1960s and 1970s - that is, if you see a biker on the side of the road, you pull over to offer your help in whatever manner you can.
So I pulled in behind the lone rider, who was kneeling beside his vintage 1975 Suzuki, cussing loudly while trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of why it kept shutting off on him every few miles.  I was of no help in finding the problem but after a bit he got it running again.  I told him I'd ride along with him in the event it quit again. I did, and it did. But the next time it quit he'd had enough. He pulled out his cell phone and called a friend.   Once it was clear that he had made contact with his rescuer with a truck and trailer, I wished him the best and was on my way.  In reality, there was really no reason for me to have stopped. Like almost every other person in North America he had a cell phone on him and he was in range of one of the thousands of cell towers that dot the countryside.  He didn't need me nor my ancient code of motorcyclist honor.

Reality of the changing world that we live in really struck me then and there. The road I was on had evolved from a muddy trail carrying horses and a few ancient undependable cars to a multi-lane expressway carrying tens of thousands of modern cars and huge trucks on its concrete surface every day.  My 2008 model motorcycle was vastly improved in every possible way to the nearly forty year old Suzuki (which was a marvel in its day - I remember!).  And the ability to communicate has changed from helping out by running up to the next gas station with a pay phone and making a call for the stranded rider, to his simply pulling out a smartphone that has more capability than the most powerful computers of the 1970s. And I could probably ride for many miles before finding a pay phone that worked today!  It all makes a code of honor to help someone in need almost unnecessary any longer. Over the last 10 or 15 years every time I've pulled over it was unnecessary.  Twice it turned out to be state troopers parked off the highway tracking speeders with a radar gun - which I didn't see until I was right up to them - and they weren't pleased to see me pull up to them, I'm sure they thought I was some wise ass trying to cause them trouble.

Anyway - this is all going somewhere.  Like dirt roads, and contact points and distributor caps, blogs are kind of old technology.  I think it's time to move on.  Time to park this 2005 model that just isn't sexy and shiny any more and is beginning to show its age and faded glory by the technology being ignored by most Internet users, and time to move on to something just a couple years newer - a facebook page that is based on my various books and my related travel and book event activities.  The URL for the page is:  https://www.facebook.com/BooksByBillMurphy?ref=stream&filter=1   called the Motorcycling Books & Travel page.
It is on this page that I now intend to start making more frequent, though much shorter, entries and updates.  These entries will be about a range of topics, from trips and status updates, to items about book selling events & personal appearances.
Please follow me on this Facebook page, and for the folks who I know from various contacts who have been reading this blog - thank you!
Ride Safely & Live Fully (and stay thirsty, my friends).


Patience Prevails - And Once Again It's Time To Ride!

The calendar has progressed to the month of May, always a time of renewal and hope to me. As late as April 20th we awoke to snow-covered ground and things were looking dismal and frustration was running high, but that's all in the past now.
 In the northern parts of the U.S. May doesn't just gradually arrive it bursts onto the scene, in an explosion of green leaves and yellow daffodils. The weather suddenly ends the radical swings from below freezing to temps in the 40s or 50s on warm days to a steady diet of absolutely delightful days in the 60s and 70s.  It's still bug-free and it seems that the whole world has undergone a thorough spring-cleaning by the rains of April. It's a new world; fresh, clean, good smelling, warm, beautiful, and nigh on perfect.
And of course one of the several outdoor activities that riders cram into a busy spring is motorcycling. The bike has long since been cleaned and polished, the oil changed, tire air pressure topped off, riding gear cleaned and made ready for use - as soon as weather conditions allow. Well, they now allow, and it's time to ride!
I find planning a trip or ride very enjoyable, whether it's a car trip with the family or a solo motorcycle ride across the continent. Anticipation and planning truly are part of the adventure for me, and many others I know. My solo rides never go exactly according to the plan or schedule, but that's fine. I enjoy plotting a route but also know full well that I might meet a road that I just can't say no to. Several years ago I was on my way to the Barber Museum in Alabama when I saw a sign near Nashville for the Natchez Trace - a historic road I had always wanted to ride. Well, then and there I changed my plans and instead of ending up in southeast Alabama I ended up four days later in Natchez, Mississippi, after riding the Trace. It was incredible and I don't regret the snap decision for a moment. From there I continued west and had the opportunity to also ride the Talimena Scenic Byway in the beautiful Quachita Mountains of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas. It's an incredibly scenic area with roads custom made for riding, and I might not have ever rode them had I stuck to the script.
Sometimes I feel like we motorcyclists share a secret that no one else knows or has access to. Our sport is so awesome and I feel so fortunate that be able to participate that I sometimes wonder why everyone doesn't jump on the bandwagon.  But of course not everyone can nor wants to, and that's as it should be. It's great that most of us are fortunate enough to pursue the things we enjoy,  no matter what it is.
I was talking with someone the other day and he asked if I was going on a motorcycle 'vacation' this summer.  The word vacation struck me as odd because I never thought of riding as a vacation, but rather a physically demanding adventure.  I think of laying on the sand on a Florida beach for a week (yuck!) as a vacation. It's relaxing and involves very little physical activity. I view a week or two on a motorcycle as an adventure the same way as I might view a week on a white water rafting trip or a hike through the wilderness.  It's time away from the routine of life, but it's not a vacation in my view - - it's better and more fulfilling than that.
Having said that I have 2 or 3 major adventures planned for the summer. A ride to participate in the Rolling Thunder celebration in D.C. over Memorial Day is the first of the multi-day events, followed by a trip around Lake Superior, a ride west, and some other multi-day adventures. My aspirations for this riding season are high. Hopefully real world realities will see it my way and cooperate.
So whatever it is in life that you love go pursue it with a passion. Time waits for no person and the unimportant things will always be there demanding your time and attention.
As no doubt more than one wise person reportedly wrote - no one on their death bed has ever said "I wish I had spent more time at work."


Call it What it is - - Whining

It's been two weeks since my last rant / whine / post about the weather and the impact it's having on two-wheeled activity. As can be seen from this picture taken yesterday, things haven't improved much since the below picture of two weeks ago. Unless a person is riding a Ural sidecar rig, 2-wheel drive preferable, they aren't doing much riding yet this winter...er, spring.
But we can still dream and plan.
I see the Washington DC Roaring Thunder event, a ride along the Lincoln Highway to mark its centennial, and attending various events planned along its route, and perhaps a major trip through northern USA and Canada in the Great Lakes region - all are looking like very definite possibilities; if and when the snow melts.
I brought my removable windshield inside last week to scrub all the dead bugs and road crud off of it in the kitchen sink, and brought all my leather items in to thaw out and then treat with leather preservative. Once the garage warms enough all vinyl parts and pieces on the bike, from wire harness protectors to hoses, will be treated with vinyl protector to protect them from another season of sun, salt, and chemicals. Then of course oil and lube & filter change, basic maintenance checklists, a thorough wash and wax, and it's ready to go.
So I'm doing my part - planning, anticipating, imagining, and hoping. Now it's up to the groundhog and Old Man Winter.