Summer fun

This is the last week of school.  Kids have finals Tuesday through Thursday and Friday is staff meetings.  Saturday I take off on a 4 – 5 day motorcycle ride to Oregon.  Two friends and I are heading over to Blue River which is just east of Eugene.  In August some different friends and I are heading over to this area to go mountain biking for 3 days.  We are going to ride the McKenzie River Trail which is supposed to be one of the premier mountain biking trails in the nation.  It will have to be pretty dang good to beat what I ride in western Montana.  The motorcycle ride is to get the lay of the land, see the cabin I have reserved and get out of town for a few days.

These road trips are always a bit of a thrill simply because motorcycles are extremely dangerous.  As you get older the hand and eye coordination just is not what it used to be.  At my age riding a motorcycle that will easily do 150 mph (been there, done that and really like it) is not really smart.  One of my friends is on a Harley which keeps me a bit restrained.  His max comfort speed is about 80, mine is in the triple digits so riding with him keeps me out of jail.  My wife has told me many times I am not really smart to ride that thing.  She might know something.  But boy is it a rush.

Two of us have done a lot of road trips together:  San Francisco, Vancouver, Banff, and most of Oregon, Washington and western Canada.  We usually figure a maximum distance away for the given time and a back road route to that point, then figure a way home from there.  We also search out all the little paved back roads.  (That is one reason for Oregon.  They pave everything in that state and some of them are just oh so curvy.  In Montana even the pavement that is there can be a bit iffy.) The far point is usually closely related to a brewery within walking distance to a motel.  Two of us are micro-brew snobs so we are always looking for a new brewery to taste the wares of.  We both have a very low tolerance for drinking and riding hence walking distance or one beer and lots of food and time.  I need to be stone cold sober when on the motorcycle.    I am tempted to head up to Portland on the third day.  60 breweries and a trolley.  Cannot go wrong.

Our road trips have made the category of “male bonding experience” numerous times.  Two of us, 10:00 at night, storm coming, one small motel in a very small town, one room available, and one twin bed.  Very bonding.  Then there was the time the three of us tried camping.  I have the right gear, they did not.  One of them brought one of those big air mattresses.  It leaked.  I slept like a rock.  They slept on the rock.  Last time for camping.

Now these trips have nothing to do with computers other than as a stress management clinic after having to deal with computers for the last nine months.  There is something cathartic about excessive speed and dragging foot pegs through corners.  Of course I do have to stop for scenery a lot to wait for the Harley.  I do bring a laptop so I can do some emergency work if needed but the trip is usually computer free.  I also feel “wrong” if I do not have a laptop available.  The smart phone would do the trick but it just is not the same.

Now if the weather will just cooperate.  Last year we rode in the same neighborhood and ended up in 2 inches of fresh snow, in June.  Slow going for a couple of miles until it turned back to rain.  I almost t-boned into a herd of elk crossing the road because my helmet visor was fogged up.  Excitement for a few seconds.  Luckily I was going very slow.  Elk are really big when they are really close.

No matter what it will be a fun break.  Then it is back to the school.  Lots of work to do over the summer.  Server room to rebuild, computers to debug, laptops to repair, wireless to configure, programming course to rebuild and so on.  It never ends and I love it.


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