Tire wires peeking through, saddlebag suicide, new rubber, and a fun weekend up north with my favorite humans 10/15/17

After winning the pair of tires from SSB, I had planned on picking them up on \the bike.. but turns out I needed a new rear tire like yesterday. So badly, that I didnt dare ride my bike to the shop to get the tires... yeah, I knew it was wearing close, but holy balls... I let it go a little long this time.

So now, I am self-induced grounded fro the bike until I get the tires and get the rear one on the bike
:( In the meantime, I had an opportunity to head to Alexandria area to hang out and since it was nice weather,,,, naturally, the only way I would go is on the bike. But that wasnt an option. So after sitting in the garage, pondering what to do... Because at this point, I was pretty determined to go to Alex and play a little.. so I checked Suzi's (my '06 Suzuki Boulevard with 65k..) tires - added alttle air to the front, checked the oil, and packed some oil (she burns it a lot over 70-75mph these days) and off I went. Cruising right along 94 at freeway speeds - her pipes are SO LOUD I had Ear buds in, which were pointless as even cranked I heard no music. So I stopped for gas, threw my iPod into the saddlebag, gassed up, checked the air and the Oil and off I went. I am cruising along the freeway when this woman pulls up along side of me at the sections f freeway where there are 6 lanes both ways.. she was frantically pointing at my bike, so I reach back thinking the saddle bag opened... and damn near lost my breath as I reached back, to find nothing but air.

Sure enough, the ENTIRE saddle bag flew off the bike while going 80mph on Sunday during 'rush hour'. Well, by the timeI could pull off on a ramp, swing back around, and reverse my path, I had gone roughly 15 miles. I come up over the hill by St Johns exit to see my bag, what was left of it, my cooler (what was left), my purse, and other crap strewn across the freeway.

 DAMMIT. I pull over and had to watch everything get repeatedly run over and over and over until traffic cleared u=enough for me to make it safely across all 3 lanes to retrieve my purse. I really didnt care about the other junk, but my ID and cash, etc. were in my purse. Oh, and not to mention said IPod I had just put in there. That was NOT a survivor. Nor was anything else... in fact, I left my saddle bag there on the side of the freeway. I picked it out of the Lanes of traffic for fear another bike would come up over the hill and hit it... but not salvageable.

 Luckily I had the net on the back seat as I figured whenever I decided to mosey back to the city, it would be pretty chilly and I wanted my leathers. Anyways - I made it to Alex, we BBQ'd, had a few beers to mellow out, and it was worth my trip. I dont know that it was worth my losses, but it was worth the trip. And the FREEZING cold trip back to the city in 37 degrees. I ne'er learn.

But I digress.... I pick up the tires in a cager. Embarrassing, I know. I was also in a dress as I just made it there after work before they were going to close. People looked at me like they might know or recognize me, but sideways glances had them confused. I was just here 2 days ago in riding gear and pig tails, and now in a dress with my hair down. Sometimes I think I have an identity crisis between the two! I walk to the parts department and get Dunlop Elites - they have been amazing every time.

 This is my 2nd rear tire this season.. I have (knock on wood) never gotten less than 19k on the Dunlop tire (on this bike). Granted, I got 21k on this rear tire, but that was sheer stupidity on my part. I called service earlier in the day to see when they could get me in,. Thats the kicker about having ADD... everything tends to be last minute. And I know damn well what happens when you wait last minute, yet, I just cannot commit to certain time and day of doing something. So, dont get me wrong, I never expect someone to drop their schedules to fit my dumb ass in, but sometimes magic happens and there's an opening. SSB is a busy place - they were booked up through the end of next week. But,.... Naturally, I needed a tire (honest need) like now. So I called my go to shop, Empire Cycle in Loretta (shout out to AMAZING guys who run an AMAZING shop and who I trust with my bike 1000% - which is huge!)

Photos courtesy of Google Search :)

I called them, and they have gotten to know me well over the summer, as this is the third tire in general this summer and I also had rear brakes done, etc. So Eric answers, I say my name and that I need to get my new tire put on... and his words "Let me guess, asap?" So I explain the wires showing through situation and low and behold, they can get me in in the morning. Which, is AMAZING news! Why? Because I was headed north that afternoon to go visit my parents, my brother, and his adorably perfect 3 kids... and since it was highs in the low 50's to low 40's, it was only natural that I ride there... its only 200 miles/3 hours. How cold can it get? And why take a car when you dont have to?! There I was Thursday night poindering how to get the new rear tire to the tire shop ON my bike. Mind you, I have gotten a ton of scratches and dings in the bike this year, so I am not overly worried about a couple of scuff marks, but the tire overhangs my bags fairly well and I didnt want to kill the paint job if I didnt have to. So I look around the house, and around the garage, wondering how to make this work. I spot a dusty old (thick) yoga mat in the corner of the garage and I go dig it out. Meanwhile, my entire camping bin falls while I try to slide the mat out, which was wedged fairly tight in between... and luckily, the bin didnt fall on a) the bike or b) me. I caught it, if you can call that a catch. Anyways, I get the mat to the bike and now wonder what to do. I took my backrest out and flipped it around, I needed all the space I could get so that I wasnt literally sitting ON the tank when driving tomorrow. So after flipping the backrest around, there was ample space for me to sit, the yoga mat tucked nicely under the tire and over the saddle bags - and once I tri folded it, the mat barely touched the paint too, which was a bonus. I use my tie downs to secure the tire to the frame of the bike on each side, and then throw in a bungee cord over the tire for good measure. Its not going anywhere. The yoga mat was tightly under the tire, but to be sure, I threw another bungee over the tire, around the mat, under the tire, and back around the seat. This puppy was NOT falling off on my watch! Yep, that will work!!!

 Hello wires of tread... I can make it 19 miles, right?!

Looks a little ghetto, but good enough!

The morning rolls around and off I go to the tire shop. I looked at the weather the night prior and it said partly cloudy. Like usual, they lied. It had JUST started drizzling/misting as I was back out of the garage. Which, no big deal. I have ridden in a hurricane, tornado outskirts, floods... thats all fine and great. The problem though, was that the metal was honestly peeking out of my rear tire. So I calculate the Mileage in my mind (19 miles) and think of the straightest path to get there. Weird, right? And then the five corners there were in those 19 miles? Grannie styled the shit out of them. Like turned embarrassingly, yet cautiously slow. I got a 4 way stop roughly 8 miles from Empire and my gas light comes on. Of COURSE it does! I think, at this point, I will never make it three. I will blow this tire out or run out of gas. I also thought about getting off the bike to check the rear tire, but (and I know, not safe) I reallly just didnt want to know. I figured I had that few miles left, it was 100% straight at this point... the odds are in my favor, right? Well, I didnt get off the bike because I didnt want to know if that was NOT the case! I make it to Empire, sweating profusely, but luckily I could pawn it off as the rain coming down.. So happy I a) didnt blow my tire and b) had enough fumes to get me there. I can deal with whatever gas conundrum occurs after that!  I pull up to the shop and the guys are standing outside and right away asked if I won the mileage thing (Yep!!) and if I survived the Iron Butt Ride, another yep. I forgot my friend Shellly had been there the week prior to also get her 2nd tire of the season and told them about that adventure!  I park the bike on the street in front of the shop, go thru and unwrap the tire which was VERY secure! And roll that inside as they come out to get the bike. I swear, everytime I hear that thing run when I'm not on it, it sounds so great! Well, maybe not now... ever since CO, the thing has been backfiring and popping WORSE than it ever has. And I dont know the technical term, but I had brought it to an area dealer in May and had it flashed or whatever fanc term they use when they map the gas to the engine, Yada, Yada. And that crap wasnt cheap! It hadn't popped once after that was done for probably 6 weeks, now, worse than ever. But anyways... I sat in the shop and bs'd with Eric as my tire was being replaced. It didnt take long at all and I was all fixed up with fancy new rubber and on my way north to see the fam.
 HAPPY  Bike!!!

 Well, now I best just aim for 70K! 

Off to head north! A solid 250 mile day and moderately OK weather I mean, I had my heated vest on on the way north, but I knew the 50 degrees would quickly drop to 38ish by the end of the three hour jaunt. My dad is so great he met me about 45-60 mins out of the Range and rode with me to the house. I wasnt sure at which point I would cross paths. I stopped for ammo (shooting my new piece this weekend if all goes as planned) and gassed up roughly 75 miles away from my parents place. I stopped at L&M - a store that is VERY up north MN and has everything, literally everything, you could possibly need. And everything, includes the standard attire that is universally required - and here in L&M, there's literally FOUR racks as long as the isle could be seen full of flannels. I laugh because I have lived  off the Iron Range long enough to forget this is normal. And instantly, it feels like 'back home'. All because of several rows of flannels.

Anyways, my dad was gonna meet me en route, so before leaving :&M I texted him my location, as did he (which I had to google..) and we knew we would pass each other at some point but I couldn't judge the distance. I came over a hill by the dump and a guy on a red gold wing headed south did an extremely long, arm way up in the air wave and held the pose for 5 seconds. As a biker, you know this is not the norm, and because I caught the rider out of the corner of my eye, I couldn't tell if it was my dad or not. I couldn't fathom he'd take the Goldwing when he had the BMW all ready to go, but I couldn't be sure. That wave threw me off beacuse it was so long and high! So I pondered 3-4 miles and thought I better stop and wait a couple minutes to see if that was him or he'd never catch up. Just as I was coming up a baby hilll, in which I knew there was a tiny church and parking lot right off the highway, I start pulling into the driveway and there sits my dad! He wears super safe/reflective yellow jacket and helmet and I was so focused on thinking he was behind me, that when I looked in front of me I was almost surprised to see him RIGHT there! Good timing and great minds! We head the rest of the way to my parents house where my mom, who is amazing at making sure I will never starve, has dinner almost ready. My parents are the best! All these years and they still 'take care' of me just like back int he day. Only now they are fun and not hostage negotiators ;)
Today is chill with the parents time and tomorrow I get to see my brother and his three kids who I feel like I haven't seen FOREVER and I am so pumped!!! They are 11, 6, and 4 and the best kids in the world.
Fast Forward to the next day and I head to my brothers to hang with the kids while he went and cut wood for winter preparations. The kids area always angels with me - another bonus of being the aunt and not the parent!  

Backyard Zipline FUN

 We hung out all day, had dinner with my parents at the local town hall for apshghetti feed supporting the local fire department. My dad, being retired rescue squad and my mom, being in the service industry, manage to know just about every person there - whether working it or eating. So the kids start getting Ancy and we head outside to play on the playground. Like 2 hours later we get ready to leave and head back to their house.

Just hangin around waiting for grandma and papa

Papa starting a fire in their ring and showing lil man how to saw wood

 The kids were wiped out from a full day of playing. After they went to bed me and my bro and I sat in the garage drinking beers until the weeeee hours of the night just bs'ing about life. Its always good to catch up with him as we spent a solid 18 years either ripping one another's hair out (sometimes literally) and /or just not being that close due to life and distance and stuff. So, its great to be close to him now and shoot the shit. I stay at his p=lace and even though we went to bed around 3-4am, I am excited too be woken up (ok, maybe not excited to the woken up part...) by the kids. We had big plans to carve pumpkins last night but it got too late so that was the plan for the morning. Success! It was super fun! The 4 year old did a great job, as did the rest of us (if I do say so myself!). It was a riot cutting and carving and stopping guts out. Morning came early and the kids were raring to go! We spent a couple of hours doing pumpkin carving and naturally, playing kids bop halloween music!

Back in the day, we would have smashed these pumpkins on each others heads just because. Weird what adulthood does to sibling relationships!!!! Love this guy! 

Then, sadly, it was time to swing back to my parents and hit the road for home. But first, I bought new Kuryakyn Sabertooth Lights for the saddlebags. And I brought them up north because while the instructions looked easy, my patience level isnt always the best for THINGS, so I figured I better have my dad help.. he's way better at that whole precise-thing.

Well, because my saddlebags are jerks at closing, it took a little extra time and I didnt end up getting on the road for south until after 5pm. Aka, getting dark quickly and already pretty chillly. High was only 42 today. And now the sun is rolling out quickly. My dad rode with me to Cloquet before we parted ways and I headed south. Naturally, I was not HOT, granted I had the heated vest, but it was still only 38 degrees now and RAIN. Yep, stupid weatherman was WAY wrong! But luckily I had my new tailbag lights so i was more visible. Yeah, I am the geek that worries about having a black bike, black helmet, black a jacket, and riding at night in the rain. So the lights both look awesome and help me be seen.

I made it it home in really good tie though - traffic was hauling ass which was nice. It was a stellar weekend! A fantastic weekend up north with my favorite humans!!!!  LOVE