Flinging Voyager 1 or What It Means to Me to Never Experience a Tank Slapper

Another sunny Friday and another moto ride. I took this one pretty late which was new and interesting. It may be the best time, traffic-wise, to ride 84 to the beach. It was nice and empty. AND I had given time for most of the moisture from Thursday's rain to dry up. At the very top of the hills, under some of the trees, there were still some slippy parts, but most of the road was gorgeous, little fingers of macadam clawing at my tires, sticking me to the road...

A friend of mine I hadn't seen in a while said to me, after I was talking about riding the motorcycle and the things I have done to mod it, "Man, you really have changed." And I'm trying to think why he would've said that. Now, I never saw myself as some motor head or grease monkey. What I don't know about motorcycles... I can't even think of something large enough to store that knowledge. I stumble through eliminating my fender, etc. And when I read about cornering techniques on moto websites, I think, "Huh?" The way they talk about applying just a little back break to settle the bike and "blipping" the throttle to bring up the rpm's and even counter steering, when it's written somewhere, sounds like nonsense to me. There's no way I can think of all those things as I go into a turn, etc...

Let me stop there. I've gone off on a tangent. I started talking about how my friend feels I've changed so much and now I've started talking about something else. They are connected, but let me finish the original thought. When I was hanging out with this friend, he probably saw more of my hippy/arty side. We went to Burning Man one year. We started a band together. And as much as I may have thought this before, hippy/arty and motorcycle aren't mutually exclusive. My reasons for loving my motorcycle come straight from the hippy/arty/even geeky sides of me.

Hippy: well that isn't too hard to see. All I really have to write here is Easy Rider. That may be more the rebel side, but that's still me, isn't it? But all those things that are part of the stereotypical hippy culture, peace, freedom, wind in your hair (or in your helmet as the case may be) are all part of what I'm talking about.

Arty: All you have to do is look at that bike and know where I'm coming from. It's gorgeous. Even if you don't like motorcycles you can see that. Obviously mine appeals to my aesthetic, minimal, naked, blue (haha), clean, but you have to see the art of it, right?

Geeky: To exemplify that, let me describe what it was like launching (see I used the word launching, like rockets and X-wing Fighters and Iron Man suits) into the hills yesterday. The place I really feel that, where I feel like I'm taking off, is when I turn left off 92w onto Skyline Blvd. Typically I'm behind a line of traffic on 92 battling over the hill to get out to the beach. But when I turn onto Skyline I leave the traffic and roll on the throttle. It's the hyperdrive being fixed on the Millennium Falcon. It's Voyager 1 being flung farther out into our solar system by the gravity of some gas giant, it's a burst of speed that normal humans don't experience. I'm not really talking about how fast I'm going either. I don't ride very fast. It's the acceleration and how the atmosphere is grabbing at me, its long arms trying to wrap around my waist, trying to lock up with my arms and doe-see-doe me to a slower speed. It's tucking my head down and the air giving up and sliding across my helmet like water. Almost immediately I hit the first, wriggling twists. The roads aren't in superior shape either and I have the stock suspension on my SV, so when I go into those twists and everything is vibrating and I'm leaned over at angles that don't exist without the speed, I mean, isn't that how astronauts describe what it's like to leave the planet? Uhg, so fun. So you see that, right? If you know me, these are things that describe David and always have. Can I tell you how obsessed I was with the Space Shuttle when I was twelve? Not to mention the cardboard box I had converted into a Viper from which I would watch Battlestar Galactica, going through the launch sequence every time they did on the show. Now, when I'm opening the choke on the carburetor, flipping the kill switch to on, turning the key, and hitting the starter... I don't think I have to finish that sentence. You get where I'm going. Not only have I not changed recently, I haven't really changed since I was 9.

I'll just say a little more on where I started drifting to before I stopped myself. I was almost to the beach yesterday, going through those long curves that carve up the green hills right before you hit the Pacific and was tucking down into one when I realized, all those things I was reading about here, a lot of them I was actually already doing. The one I was noticing at that moment was how you can tease the throttle through a turn to keep you on a line. Last night I was watching Star Racer and the judges were using the same language. Maybe I just need to learn the language better. Maybe it's just all about language. Maybe I haven't learned the poetry of motorcycle yet. Maybe I will, but in the meantime here's an ugly little word that Sean and I came across: tank slapper. Google it. Sweet jesus I never want to experience that.

Okay here are some photos:

I stopped to take some photos of these cows...

And judging from the downshifting and slowing, probably freaked these guys out. Camera = Radar Gun?

And then here's the beach.