The crack of dawn comes around kinda early doesn't it? Well we got up & did the morning routine(see previous blogs complaining about mornings) & made it to the MSF Motorcycle Skills class. As it was explained to us any idiot can ride down the interstate at 70mph but it takes skills to handle a bike at parking lot speeds of 2-10 mph. There was also going to be training on quick stops & evasive maneuvers. Imagine if you will 12 riders, all with bikes weighing between 500 & 900 lbs, 2 instructors, & a seemingly unlimited number of traffic cones. We would be riding at speeds slower than an easy walk, making U turns in the space of a 2 car driveway, & swerving in & out of cones placed not much farther apart than the length of our bikes. A lot of cones were going to sacrifice there lives today.
The first exercise saw the beginning of the end for the cones. Bikes were stalled & a few lost their balance but were saved by a quick plant of a foot on the ground. The second exercise had the first bike go down. A gentleman on his second Goldwing with 83,000 miles on it had not enough speed for the turn & dropped it. During the next few exercises more cones died( some under my wheels) along with other minor mishaps while we all were trying to learn new & safer skills. About half way through the class Mary had a mishap & dropped her bike. Anyone who knows Mary also knows about her carpal tunnel issues. Between all the riding we had done this week & all the hand controls we were doing during the class her wrists had gotten inflamed. The pain caused her to lose control of the clutch in a tight turn & the bike went down. She landed on her butt & hip which of course was the hip with the arthritis in it. She got up but was now sore from her wrists to her a... lets call it her hip area. Rather than further aggravate the pain she chose not to finish the class. She went home, took some anti-inflamatories, got an ice pack, & laid down.
Mary insisted she would be OK & that I should finish the class. Well the exercises got more difficult, the weather got warmer, & the day got longer. It doesn't seem like it should but this hard, but slow speed motorcycling is tiring both physically & mentally. After 6 hours we not only earned our completion certificate but unanimously felt like we had better control of our bikes. With practice these lessons would make us better & safer riders which would allow us to enjoy the ride even more.
I got home & Mary had slept some but was sore from "you know where" to "you know where". We were scheduled to go to a dinner & fireworks display at the local Six Flags Amusement Park but I told Mary we didn't have to go. Her stubborn side kicked up & said"NO WAY!". I suggested we take the truck since she was hurting but she again said"NO!". She was going to ride her bike to dinner. I told her to try getting on her bike which she did in obvious pain. "See!" she said & I told her to pick it up off the kick stand. That was a whole 'nother story. Since she didn't want to take the truck she agreed to ride on the back of my bike. In the 7 years she has been riding her own bike I can count on one hand the number of times she has passengered on my bike. She was a good back seat passenger & we went to dinner with at least a couple of thousand other bikers.
Dinner was good, the band was awesome, & the company couldn't be better. At the awards ceremony trophies & prizes were given out & it was announced that through raffles & charity rides over $12,000 was raised for different charities in the area. Bikers know how to give while they are having fun. Then the lights were dimmed & the fireworks began. It was an outstanding display set to some great music & was a fitting end to the day. The band played for awhile longer & we sat & listened to avoid the mad dash of thousands of bikes exiting at once.
Well we are both enjoyed the day in spite of Mary's fall. She will be OK & we will chalk it up to "Poop Happens". We can't little bumps in the road ruin our day. It has been a long day so we will be saying good night. We will sleep good tonight in our comfy bed, in our home on wheels, in Lake George NY because....
Home is where we park it,
Fran & Mary