The Depression Year

Nearly another year between posts. There's a good reason this time.

Given the state of the world this past year, you'd think I would've found more time to get out on the bike and tour around the countryside. In truth, I did get out a few times; mostly quick afternoon trips, just to get out and blow the cobwebs off.

Why not more often though... I mean, motorcycling is a pretty decent social-distancing activity. And in the year 2020 (and going into 2021 it would seem because people apparently can't handle wearing a mask without it infringing on their "constitutional rights"), social-distancing activities were all we could really do. It feels like most of my summer was doing chores and ticking off items on the honey-do list. Not because I wanted to, but because I was bored.

So again, why not get out and ride more? Honestly? I think depression would be the answer there. Depression and a sense of needing to be productive, I think. It's hard to enjoy the ride when, first of all, you're so lethargic that even pulling on your riding gear seems like a chore, and second, when out thinking about chores back at the house. It's annoying to be enjoying a day and then thinking "Oh, but I should be home weeding that side garden".

Part of the enjoyment of riding, for me at least, is heading out for a couple of hours, and then stopping at a bar or restaurant and sitting for an hour or so. It's nice to kick back with a beer and bud and shoot the shit for a spell, then get back on the bikes and start rolling on home. That aspect was negated because of the Pandemic as well.

There's at least a light at the end of the tunnel now. The vaccines have been approved and are starting to make their way to the masses. As a middle age, mostly healthy, non-front-line worker, I'm not going to be getting mine anytime soon. But hopefully by summer? It'd be nice to get out and put some more miles on the odometer.

Here's to hoping the vaccine opens up those vistas again.

Created while trying to beat away the blues on Jan 13, 2021

Attending Church on a Sunday, So to Speak...

After meeting friends for rugby brunch (a Six Nations tradition), and getting the shopping done, I managed to pull out the bike and get in a few hours of riding. Unlike last weekend when I just did a quick half-hour jaunt through the neighborhood, this trip was out of the area and through a bit of the Northern Virginia countryside I hadn't visited before.

Originally the plan was to head up Rt. 15 into Maryland. Just south of the little town of Lucketts, I got the itch to turn left. So... I did. Ended up traveling along a nice twisty road that ended up in the tiny community of Taylorstown. Taylorstown was first settled in 1734 and counts two of the oldest homes in Loudoun County amongst its dwellings. It’s just south of the Potomac River and was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1978.

Taylorstown-farm.jpeg#asset:296

Daisy-Taylorstown.jpeg#asset:297


After a quick picture opportunity, I traveled on, paralleling the Potomac until I popped out onto Rt. 15 just south of Point of Rocks bridge. Hooked a left, and was in Maryland as soon as I crossed the river. Back on my original idea of the trip, I was only on Rt. 15 before deciding to take another left, this time at the roundabout that led to Brunswick. Some miles and one construction detour later, I was heading towards the downtown area. I was getting cold at this point, so decided to stop at a local coffee shop to warm up.

Beans in the Belfry is housed in an old church, crammed full of overstuffed sofas and armchairs, charmingly shabby tables, and, of course, coffee. As a bonus on this Sunday afternoon, there was a group of local musicians playing a selection of bluegrass, folk, and some older classic mellow rock tunes. It was a nice way to warm up; a good cup of coffee, a good selection of music, and a delightful atmosphere to enjoy it all in.

EA1C7D27-FC5D-443F-B827-2C3BC98037F8.jpeg#asset:302

Beans-in-the-belfry-3.jpeg#asset:301

Beans-in-the-belfry-1.jpeg#asset:300

Beans-in-the-belfry-2.jpeg#asset:299

Beans-in-the-belfry-4.jpeg#asset:298


I stayed for a few songs, finished my coffee, and decided to head on back. It was getting later in the afternoon, and chillier to boot. Thankfully I had the foresight to pack the heavier gloves and my warm fleece neck gaiter (or wrap or whatever it’s called). Took the direct route home and even with the heavy leathers I‘m glad I did. The temperature was definitely dropping.

But hey, it’s hard to complain when you get some hours on the bike in the middle of winter!


Penned while wishing it was still the weekend on Feb 24, 2020

Making Time

The wife asked what my plans were for this past Saturday, as she was getting ready to go work at the winery. I mentioned that I'd probably do the dishes and laundry. She said it was too nice a day and to get out.

She was right.

Pulled Daisy out and we had a nice morning of going through some backroads that I hadn't been on before. One of the little towns I passed through was having their Octoberfest celebration, so I stopped there for a bit. Then on down through the hills and past a house for sale that we'd looked at the previous weekend. Nice house, way out of our budget. It would be nice to live that far out "in the country" (as it were). Nice not to have to fight traffic for 30 minutes to get to somewhere nice to ride. When I first moved to the area (Northern Virginia), it was just a quick 10 minutes and I'd be out in the country. Now, with the explosive growth, it's triple that.

But it's worth it. I went alone, and just took the rights and lefts as they appealed to me. No planned destination, just getting out and riding. It was a gorgeous morning.

And when I got back, I still did the dishes and laundry.

Put In writing while listening to the rain on Sep 30, 2019

Best Laid Plans, Redux

Craig and I had a nice weekend planned out; a nice, round-about trip down to Blackwater Falls State Park, where we were going to do some camping, and riding around the mountains. Alas.

About 50 miles into the trip, my engine light came on. I motioned to Craig that I needed to pull over, and the bike just died. After about 30 minutes, we managed to get her jumped (after buying jumper cables; the first guy to try and help us jump the bike had battery cables that looked like they were for jump starting a Mac truck) and detoured to Winchester HD. Verdict is a new voltage regulator is needed. And of course, they can’t get one until mid-week.

Naturally we were both disappointed. Craig turned around and headed back towards home, while I ended up waiting for my son to come get me. Thankfully he was available. I rewarded him buy filling his car with gas and treating to him to lunch at Sonic. I realized then that I'd failed at parenting, as that was the first time he'd ever tried Sonic. Shame on me.

Could've been worse - we could've been on the side of the road stuck. At least we managed to make it into the dealership. Hopefully we'll have a nice long Indian Summer and we can at least one over-nighter in.

hd-shop.jpg#asset:267


She's back there somewhere...

Penned while listening to the new Tool album (worth the wait!) on Sep 04, 2019

Resurrection

I'm wishy-washy.

Reading over my entry from over a year ago, I thought I'd give a quick update. First, Daisy is back on the road! Huzzah! I took her to one of the local dealerships, and told them to make her road-worthy again. Essentially this was doing the 5K mile service, getting a new battery put in, new safety inspection done, and checking all the hoses, belts, and tires to ensure that everything was good.

Shortly after, my buddy Craig and I (who you "met" in my one-and-only travel journal entry) took a nice tri-state drive, up through Gambrill State Park in Maryland, through Antietam National Battlefield, down through Shepherdstown, where we stopped for brunch, and then through Harpers Ferry on our way home. Gorgeous day for a ride, and thankfully my hands did pretty well. There was still some numbness and tingling, but it wasn't to the degree it's been in the past.

So the site isn't dead yet. I have a full-time job now, and while plans for my other site haven't panned out like I'd hoped, I've not given on traveling more yet. I'm hoping to keep both sites active, and if there's some cross-posting, I'm ok with that.



Written while sitting in my office staring out at my bike. on Jul 24, 2019

Mothballed

If you're a regular visitor to the site (and I think I'm mostly talking to myself here), then you know that updates are practically non-existent. I've moved over to my other site, www.scenicmyway.com. Come over and join me if you want!



Scenic My Way


Created while watching the wind blow the leaves, on Nov 27, 2018

When it rains...

So in my entry titled The Past Year, I mentioned my dad being in the hospital, among the myriad of other issues going on. 

Well...this past month my dad finally passed on. While sad, I'm not upset, as his quality of life had degraded to a point where, frankly, I don't think it was worth living. On oxygen 24/7, taking 16 different pills a day, unable to leave the house. Not a good life in my opinion.

And on top of that, we had to put my cat down last November. While not as big in the grand scheme of things as having a parent pass away, it was still sad. In our family, she was definitely my cat. She always slept in my lap when I was sitting in my recliner. Hell, she'd been part of the family for 18 years. That's a big chunk. So, yeah, that was sad too.

I don't know if I'll ever ride Daisy again. It's been nearly two years. My hands are to the point where they fall asleep when I'm just sitting at the kitchen table. I definitely need to get something done, but still having no job and sub-par insurance (thank all the gods we did have what we had... my daughter's chemo treatment bills are nearing 500K) means it's been put on the back-burner. 

Like everything else in my life.

Written while feeling morose on Jun 19, 2018

Am I Odd ?

Yeah, I'm still here. Yes, I'm still picking at the site, making small adjustments here and there. Even added a new entry. It helps remind me there's a site I want to focus on.

When I was laid off nearly a year ago, the bike's insurance was dropped. The bill came due a month after losing the job, so that was deemed "non-essential" and subsequently, I let it lapse. As the months rolled on, and I had yet to acquire a permanent job, I pulled the battery and put Daisy under cover. She's been that way for at least six months now. I'll admit, it breaks my heart a little when I pass her in the garage. I always pat her on the handlebar, or the sissy bar, and tell her she's awesome and that I miss her.

Is that weird?

Created while still unemployed on Feb 07, 2018

The Past Year

Let's see... last entry was a year and 5 days ago. In that time, there's been some ongoing medical issues on my part, my dad ended up in the hospital, where it was touch and go for two weeks, then the winter (hard to get out and ride during the winter season...). I was laid off in March, subsequent cost cuttings meant losing insurance on the bike, so no riding, then discovered my 19-year old daughter has cancer and, wow, did my world get upended.

In a nutshell, this past year has been a rough one.

I miss this site. Just because I've been having issues getting out and riding doesn't meant I can't update parts of it. The Decades section for certain can use some love, and hell, I just need to be in front of a computer for that.

I've also had a new site idea running through my head, which will tie in very closely with this one. Still travel-orientated, but less Harley-related. If it comes to fruition, you can bet you'll see it here.

In the mean time, the shiny, if dusty, side is still up. Gotta stay positive!

Penned after getting back from the pub on Aug 27, 2017

Best Laid Plans...

The plan was to borrow a GoPro, use my iPhone camera, and record the trip down to Lake Anna for a guy's weekend at a friend's cabin. Poker, BBQ, and beer were all to be had, and it's a great time. There's some pretty countryside to ride through as well, and I thought that maybe this could be my "inaugural" video post, and get started into travel video logging.

Alas.

Two weeks ago I was hit with the worst headache of my life. The intensity and quickness with which it arrived was amazing. It was late at night, and I didn't want to wake the wife to take me to the ER (sleeping dragons and all that). Besides, it was just a headache, I thought. I quickly took three Advil and attempted to rest.

By the next afternoon, when the headache hadn't gone away, and I'd maxed the dosage of Advil and Tylenol, my wife finally convinced me to go to Urgent Care. Once there, I was scolded (literally), and sent to the ER. Ended up being admitted overnight and released the following afternoon. In-between were CT scans, spinal taps, and a failed MRI. 

Two weeks later, and I'm mostly OK. Saw my neurologist today, and he thinks it was a burst blood-vessel. Nothing to really do, other than just be aware of my current head state. And currently, I'm feeling mostly fine. I'd put myself at about 90%. Given the previous two weeks however, and the fact that the headache still spikes, and there was a lot of dizziness involved, I think it's simply safer to drive down with a friend, rather than take the bike. 

Hopefully in a few weeks I'm feeling better. Then I'll see about putting the travel blog plans back into place. In the meantime, here's to looking forward to a great weekend, pocket pairs, and better health.

Scribbled while pondering life on Aug 22, 2016