Tag Archives: riding

Riding Fit… Riding Smart…

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Riding fit… riding smart… my new motto. I am 66 years young… and not getting any younger ;). This past July I rode my longest ride in terms of miles and days (5500 miles in 16 days). It was the best ride to date.

As I have gotten older I have noticed things don’t function as well as in the past. I am not as strong as I once was. Fatigue takes a toll on me physically and mentally. I get pains in places I have never had pain before.  I don’t like these changes. I have had to adapt these to my riding style.

My daughter Katie is a triathlete and knows how to keep her body functioning at its peak. I asked Katie for some advice and tried to incorporate her tips into my ride.

I’ve always known it is important to stay hydrated, but she suggested replenishing my electrolytes. When you exercise heavily, you lose electrolytes in your sweat, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant. Many sports drinks have sodium chloride or potassium chloride added to them. They also have sugar and flavorings to provide your body with extra energy and to make the drink taste better. Electrolytes are what your cells use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, heart & muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. The human body needs various kinds of salts to be healthy and to function normally. Serious salt imbalances, like those that occur with dehydration, may lead to heart and nervous system problems that, unless they are rapidly resolved, can result in a medical emergency. So you can see why this is important to a rider and very important to an aging one…

On previous trips I had, on occasion, bought a sport drink when we stopped. Katie suggested I drink one at every stop. That was a bit of a problem since we sometimes stop in the middle of nowhere and drink just water. Now I would have to carry sports drinks too… Katie suggested we carry electrolyte tablets that we could add to our water. That way we didn’t need to carry both. I actually carried several different brands (Hammer Nutrition & Nuun tablets and Mio Fit liquid). The brand I liked the best because of taste and it seemed to give a better boost of energy too, was by Hammer Nutrition (Electrolyte Fizz Tablets). I am amazed how much this helped. Even on long mileage days I felt great at the end of the day.

I have had a few back problems that have put me out of commission for days. This is always a concern when I am riding. Back problems on a ride would not be good. So far so good. I did have a problem with my back several months before our trip. Since this would be a long trip with many days in the saddle I wanted to do whatever I could to prevent any back problems. Katie suggested I do exercises to strengthen my back muscle. She gave me some exercises to do, but I modified them to suit me and my back. The exercises seemed to help a lot. I never noticed any pains hefting the Goldwing off the kickstand or any pains when staying in the saddle for hours on end.

The other issues I’ve had in the past were getting a good night’s sleep. Long hours in the saddle, not sleeping in my bed and the excitement of the day sometimes take a toll. I have trouble getting to sleep but once asleep I’m out until the alarm goes off. So on this trip I would take half a Ibuprofen PM and one Ibuprofen (muscle relaxer and helps with stiffness) an hour before bed. I slept really well during the whole ride.

Another concern is getting sick while riding. It’s no fun being sick (even a little sick) and having to ride. No fun for you and no fun for the other riders having to worry about you being sick. As a precaution I took an “Airborne” every night. I don’t know if it kept me from getting sick but it couldn’t have hurt and I didn’t get sick…

Riding a motorcycle is different from driving a car… I’ve found too that knowing your limits is as important as all the above. Of course this is continually evolving. Exceeding your limits will put you on shaky ground both physically and mentally. Staying within your limits makes for an enjoyable riding day. At the end of the day you can wind down and reflect on all the fun of the day instead of wishing you had made better choices.

Having taken these steps to ride fit and smart, I can see myself riding for years to come. It was a great ride and an even better ride not having to deal with any above issues.

I hope this is of some use to the older riders and the younger ones too.

If you like this post you may also like these related posts…

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I hope I see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…

W.D. & Me On Our First Long Motorcycle Ride 36 Years Ago!

Dallas -Dumas 411 miles, motorcycle, route, ride

My route to/from Dallas, Texas/Dumas, Texas (411 miles)

Several weeks ago I met my cousin W. D. (aka Dub) in Lagrange, Texas (of “Chicken Ranch” fame). Dub recently bought a new camper for his retirement travels and was setup at “Colorado Landing” RV park. He and I lived close by growing up and have been like brothers since we were kids. Dub is 18 months older, so like any little brother I wanted to do everything Dub did. Cousins are your first and best friends. We have a long history so we spent the day visiting and talking about old times.

My KZ400

My KZ400 that I rode on the trip.

Dub and I rode our first long motorcycle ride together. He lived in Eastlake, Colorado just north of Denver, Colorado and I lived in Dallas, Texas. We were young and rode the trip “on a wing and a prayer”. The only thing we planned was the date of travel and our destinations.  We met each other in Dumas, Texas which was about midway for each of us. Back then there were no cell phones to communicate with each other as our trip progressed. Dub devised a crazy way for us to communicate on our trip without having expensive long distances charges. When we stopped for gas or to eat etc. we would call Dub’s wife Barb “person to person”. If everything was okay we would ask to speak to ourselves. Barb would reject the call if everything was okay. If either one of us had any problems we would call and ask to speak with Barb. Barb would accept the call and we could tell her what our problem was. This worked very well. As the day progressed we kept checking in and knew the other rider was having a good ride. Fortunately, we did not have any problems that needed to be relayed during the trip.

That first day the weather was great… not too hot or too cold. We both made good time and arrived in Dumas about 5 or 10 minutes apart. I was riding a 1974 Kawasaki KZ400 and Dub was riding a 1974 Yamaha 500. Seats on our bikes were not made for staying in the saddle for hours on end.  As the hours became longer and longer it seemed as though we were sitting on 2×4’s turned edge ways. When we met up, we both shared similar stories about how hard the seats were. I had passed many riders that day who were standing while riding. It wasn’t long before I understood why they were riding that way. I was soon doing the same. If I remember correctly I could only travel about 100 miles before stopping for gas. It was a welcome break from the saddle. I also had to stop occasionally to oil and make adjustments on the chain. Because of that trip I decided my next bike would not have a chain drive.

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Our route from Dumas to Clovis (182 miles)

We were a bit paranoid about parking our bikes outside the motel room, so we pushed them into our room for safekeeping. Nothing like the smell oil and gas as you sleep. The following day we got an early start and headed to Clovis, New Mexico. Dub’s brother John was stationed at the Air Force base in Clovis. It was a short ride relative to the day before. We stayed with John a couple of nights. John had a bike so we spent the following day riding around Clovis. Dub had a minor mishap the first day. Shortly after starting his ride he broke his windshield and had ridden with half a windshield. We checked with the local Yamaha dealer there in Clovis to get a replacement windshield. They had a windshield that was the same size and shape but the mounting holes did not match. We solved the problem by drilling a couple of holes to make it work. Later on the trip, Dub would find replacing the windshield to be a good decision.

Clovis - Eastlake 511 miles

Our route from Clovis to Eastlake (511 miles)

After a good visit and rest we rode to Eastlake the next day. It was a long ride of 511 miles. As we started out that day it began to warm up. We noticed there were hundreds of tarantulas sunning themselves on the road that day. We entertained ourselves by holding our boots just above the pavement and when our boot hit a tarantula; it would go flying down the road. Please remember this was 30 plus years ago and our youth was showing.

The weather was great when we started but then turned to light snow and eventually rain. When we started up Raton pass (7834 feet or 2388 meters elevation) the clouds started to roll in. As we reached the top of the pass snow started falling. To add to the situation both of our bikes were carbureted and ran really rough in the higher altitude. I think at one point I may have downshifted to second gear climbing the pass. On the other side of the pass it was all downhill to coin a phrase. A short while later, I thought I had a major engine problem. It was as though I turned off the key. No power… it was a dead engine. I watched as Dub’s tail light became smaller and smaller as he rode farther away. Dub had not realized I was falling behind. I was in a bit of a panic not knowing if he would realize I was not behind him any longer. About a mile down the road Dub turned around and came back to see what the problem was. I had taken my hand off the handlebar to wipe my nose and in the process I inadvertently hit the kill switch. Because of the gloves I was wearing I did not feel my hand hitting the switch. It took a few minutes to realize what had actually happened. What a relief to know there was no problem. After having a good laugh we continued on our way. The snow eventually stopped and we thought we were out of the worst of it but then it started to rain rather heavily. I was wearing a cheap rain suit. It worked well until the pants started to come apart from the knee down. I was getting soaking wet from the knee down. Being wet is one thing… being wet and cold is another… As we were riding through Pueblo Colorado we were passed by a car full of kids. They rolled down their window and were laughing and shouting at us riding in the rain. We had the last laugh. They ran off the road while trying to make fun of our situation. Dub and I smiled and rode on.

Later, we stopped at a rest stop to call Barb and let her know our ETA. While Dub was talking to Barb I decided to put on some dry socks. Sitting on the curb by my bike I thought the warm engine would feel good on my cold wet feet. I was right. I was lying on my back with my feet on the engine when Dub came looking for me. Because I was lying down he could not see me. He was walking around wondering where the heck I had gotten off to. We had another good laugh when he saw me laying on the ground. The engine heat did feel really good on my cold wet feet.

It was still raining when we got to Eastlake after sunset. Dub’s driveway was long and was two strips of concrete made just for a car. Because the concrete was narrow, wet and slick, we both slipped off the runners and dropped our bikes.  We just let them lay and went in the house to clean up and warm up. Later that night we got the bikes up to the house and cleaned them up the next day. We learned a lot that day…

I stayed several days visiting, site seeing and resting up before riding back to Dallas alone. I missed having my cousin riding along. For the most part the ride was uneventful. I had good weather, a bit cold and partly overcast the first day but not bad considering it was October. When riding that time of the year in Colorado the weather could have been really bad. I was lucky.

Eastlake - Dumas 401 miles

My route from Eastlake to Dumas (401 miles)

I stopped at Capulin Volcano to take a break and play tourist. On the way up to the top of Capulin one of the supports broke on my windshield. I was in a bit of a panic until I figured out a fix. It held together the rest of the trip.

I spent the night in Dumas again. I got an early start back to Dallas. Somewhere along the way I lost my Air Force fatigue shirt I had strapped to the luggage rack. I rode a ways back looking for it but had no luck finding it. I paid 4 years of my life for it and didn’t like losing it. Your fatigue shirt was like a “badge of honor” back in those days.

Until this ride, the longest ride I had been on was a 610 mile round trip. This ride of 1858 miles round trip ignited my love of motorcycle touring. It took me out of my comfort zone and I learned a lot from this trip. After this ride I knew I needed better gear and a bike better suited for long trips. I started a family shortly after that trip and I had to put my riding on hold for 23 years. Now I am trying to make up for lost time. My posts here will attest to that.

Dub & Me

Dub and me 30+ years later…

Dub still rides but has downsized to a Yamaha scooter. We hope to do some riding together again. We have tried to get together to ride but life has gotten in the way. I’m going to try to get him to ride with me in May. I plan to ride the “Texas Independence Trail Region”. Stay tuned for that post…

Problem Solved… I Hope…

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Texas Rambler Business Card (front)

Problem Solved… I Hope… I am always meeting people and the conversation inevitably leads to riding motorcycles and traveling on motorcycle. I always talk about this blog and encourage them to have a look. Sometimes I see these people again and they have made an effort to look at the blog but had forgotten the address. So here is my solution… The Texas Rambler business card. Now if they can just hang onto the card until they are sitting in front of their computer 😉 …

Texas Rambler Business Card (back)

Texas Rambler Business Card (back)

Day 3 – Harrison, AR Motorcycle Ride: Holdenville – Okmulgee – Muskogee – Tahlequah – Harrison (263 miles)

Day 3 route

Harrison, AR Motorcycle Ride

We were up early (6:00)… For Alfred anything before noon is early but we don’t like arriving to our destination in the dark. So we were up early. McDonald’s was across the street so we ate breakfast there. It was fast and cheap and they have good coffee. We have to have good coffee. We were on the road around 8:00 with nothing but blue skies and sunshine all day. It was a great day to be riding.

Morning Shadows…

Our route today would be taking us through several of the former trail end of the “Trail of Tears” Remembrance Motorcycle Ride of years past. They are Okmulgee, Muskogee and Tahlequah. I don’t remember what years that was. They tend to run together.

Fort Gibson Barracks

Like I said before (Day 1 of our ride) we like old forts so we had to stop and tour one of the forts that played a prominent part in the resettlement of the tribes that traveled the “Trail of Tears”. Fort Gibson was active from 1824 to 1890. The tribes who traveled the “Trail of Tears” by water often disembarked at Fort Gibson. During the second half of the 1830’s and into the 1840’s, Creek, Cherokee and Seminole stopped here on the last leg of their journey to the new lands.

Fort Gibson Bakery

Bakery

We arrived at the fort before lunch. It was another good example of an old frontier fort that has been partially restored with future restoration to be done soon. There were many buildings to tour. We enjoyed walking and exploring the grounds.

After touring the fort we rode back through the town of Fort Gibson and ate lunch at the Classic Kitchen Diner.  The food was very good and the desert was even better… The coconut cream pie was almost as good as Janet’s, her mom’s and Janet’s Aunt Imogene’s. They make the best…

Classic Kitchen Diner in town of Fort Gibson

From Fort Gibson we rode to Harrison enjoying the many curvy and scenic highways.

Larry C. at light in Springdale

We arrived at the Super 8 around 5:00… Our home for the next 4 days. After checking in and resting a bit, we walked next door to the Italian Restaurant. We walked because we had done enough riding for the day… The food and service was great, making for the perfect ending to a day of riding with good friends.

Below are the other days of our ride if you want to follow along…

Ride introduction…
Day 1 – Georgetown, TX to Bowie, TX via scenic FM 4. (250 miles)
Day 2 – Bowie, TX to Wewoka, OK to Holden, OK  (193 miles)
Day 4 – Ride 1 out of Harrison, AR
Day 5 – Ride 2 out of Harrison, AR  (120 miles)
Day 6 – Ride 3 out of Harrison, AR  (207 Miles)
Day 7 – Harrison, AR to Jessieville, AR (149 miles)
Day 8, 9 & 10 – Jessieville, AR to Scroggins, TX to home

Day 1 – Trail Of Tears Motorcycle Ride: Georgetown, TX to Bowie, TX via scenic FM 4. (250 miles)

Route Map

Hospital at Fort Richardson

Today we are headed out to meet friends riding in the Trail Of Tears Motorcycle Ride. Our route will take us from Georgetown to Lampasas via Hwy 183, Lampasas to Santo via Hwy 281, Santo to Jacksboro via FM 4 and the on to Bowie down Hwy 59.

We were on the road by 8:00 am with a light rain falling with temperature around 69 degrees but it felt much cooler with the rain. The rain got heavier once started and rained fairly heavy until we got to Lampasas. We had pretty much ridden out of the rain by then. Because we were expecting the heavy rain we opted to wear or rain suits today.

We stopped at the Sunday Creek Restaurant at the intersection of I-20 and Hwy 4 near Santo, TX. We took this opportunity to shuck the rain suits. For lunch we ordered their lunch special of Enchiladas, rice and beans. Janet liked the sour cream sauce and we split a piece of coconut cream pie. Good stuff.

We finally got the chance to wear our new Olympia Airglide 3 jackets and continued on down FM 4. We did not ride the entire length of FM 4. I had read about FM 4 in several publications and internet post and always wanted to ride it for myself. It turned out to be a great ride. The section we rode was from Santo to Jacksboro. It was scenic, rugged and actually hilly with great views from the hill tops. If you are in the area this is a must ride… Don’t miss it.

Mess Hall at Fort Richardson

Kitchen at Fort Richardson

Our next stop was Fort Richardson in Jacksboro, TX. Janet and I both enjoy touring the many old forts of Texas and this is another good one. It was our first time to visit here. In the interpretive center we met Ranger Glenn Barnett. Who was a pleasure to chat with. Glenn was very knowledgeable of the fort and Texas History. If you get a chance to visit Fort Richardson be sure to say hi to Glenn and tell him you heard about him here. I’m sure he’ll get a kick out of it…

Hospital at Fort Richardson

Fort Richardson

From Fort Richardson it was on to Bowie, TX where we stayed the night at the Best Western. The clerk at the front desk recommended the Armadillo Grill for dinner. They had a wide varity of food but we settled for soup and salad… Again good stuff…

Inspite of the rain initially it was a good days ride. Great scenery all along the way.

Checkout the post of the other days of this ride below…

Ride introduction…
Day 2 – Bowie, TX to Wewoka, OK to Holden, OK  (193 miles)
Day 3 – Holden, OK to Harrison, AR 
Day 4 – Ride 1 out of Harrison, AR 
Day 5 – Ride 2 out of Harrison, AR  (120 miles)
Day 6 – Ride 3 out of Harrison, AR  (207 Miles)
Day 7 – Harrison, AR to Jessieville, AR (149 miles)
Day 8, 9 & 10 – Jessieville, AR to Scroggins, TX to home.