Two days from Potsdam

Two days ago in the morning I left Potsdam with a hangover. This evening I rode through St. Louis and came to rest at the Columbia Fairfield close to the center of Missouri. That makes about 1,200 miles in two days. My next important rendezvous is in Colorado Springs on Monday, just over 700 miles from here. I can be there tomorrow (Sunday) if I push hard.

Here is a counter-intuitive phrase that is familiar to many motorcyclists: stop to go faster. It means get off the bike often to keep fatigue away. Riding tired is bad, mmkay? A few minutes spent laying in the grass (intentionally) will make the next hour of riding much, much more comfortable.

I’ve had enough of sunny days, though. It’s time for some clouds. I switched to an open-face helmet in Vermont and I underestimated the amount of protection lost thereby. I now have sunscreen and I apply it frequently (six times per day enough?) but it was three riding hours too late. Once again I wish my skin were dark.

I have the classic “raccoon eyes” look that comes from wearing good sunglasses in the sun. Today I thought about this and realized there is more to it than the shade the glasses provide. My sunglasses fit very well. Their shadow on my face is very sharp because the lenses almost touch the skin. Glasses with more open space there and above my eyes would not cover my field of vision as completely but they would lessen the raccoon eyes effect by keeping the shadow’s edge from always hitting the same spot. This is what I get for buying glasses that fit very well! (And also from not wearing enough sunscreen.)

I suppose the raccoon eyes are also worsened (given more contrast) by sunlight that reflects off the lenses and strikes my face. The areas of my cheeks just under the glasses seem to have gotten much more exposure than the rest. I have about two weeks of beard growth and that helps keep the sun off but unfortunately I cannot grow enough hair on the outside of my nose.

That’s enough about my sunburn. Please don’t mention it, especially if you are my mother. It’s not very bad and I’ve had much worse.

The arch in St. Louis was very nice to look at. I could see it from several miles away and then I-70 passed within a few hundred yards of its base, so the views were plenty and good. Now I’m out of nice things to say about St. Louis. Don’t drive through it just to see the arch. The arch disappears behind you and the next ten miles of highway are a hell of insane drivers and invisible lane markings. Get a nice view from far away and then avoid the city, or else stay long enough to find more good things to counteract the stress of driving there.

That little stretch of road reaffirmed my desire to stay away from cities when traveling long distances. Today I also reaffirmed my desire to stay away from Arby’s, Waffle House, and bridges maintained by the Illinois DOT.

Mark Ghosh, owner of Weblog Tools Collection, was a terrific host; he put me up for the night in his house near Toledo and the accommodations and hospitality were just great. It’s too bad we didn’t have more time to talk. Mark has been a WordPresser almost since WordPress began but until yesterday he had never met another WordPresser in person. WordPress APB: if you’re ever near Toledo, try to meet Mark Ghosh.

Today was my first day riding with an in-helmet audio system. The Goldwing has AM/FM/Cassette and a CB radio. The SQL knob (squelch) is a nice touch: it mutes the stereo when the CB signal is above the SQL threshold. I haven’t transmitted anything yet but I’ve tried to listen to others. It’s hard for me to discern words due to the ambient noise level. I might have to modify the headset for a better fit. Anyway, I like hearing reports of “bears” or the lack of them. Long way to go, short time to get there…

WordCamp is next Saturday and I am scheduled for a musical interlude. Does anybody in San Francisco have a 6-string acoustic cutout guitar that I can borrow?

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