Monday, August 8, 2011

I Will Be Content, If Not Satisfied

St. Louis, Michigan is the town I grew up in. My Dad and Sister still live there. St. Louis, Missouri is the town in which I now live. When I first bought my Symba I had in the back of my mind riding the Symba from St. Louis, Missouri to St. Louis, Michigan and back. I have no doubt the Symba could do it. Not all that long after I got my Symba I learned of Binh Cheung and his ride from San Jose to Alaska . I'd, also, hoped to learn to do much of the maintenance on the bike myself. Alas, I found the increased level of anxiety and lack of patience that have been ongoing challenges post head injury become especially evident when I work with things mechanical.

Now, I'm following the blog of a couple of travelers as they travel around the world on two  Symbas. They have made it from Portland, OR to Columbia, MO  once again proving the Symba can go and go and go given the right support. The key phrase there is: Given the right support. I would not be able to do the mechanical things, at least at this time, to take on a trip to Michigan and back let alone a journey of such epic proportions.

Still, I figured it was high time I added a state to the states I have ridden in. So, this past weekend I made it across the Mississippi River and into Illinois.

Proof that Billie made it to Illinois.
Most of the Bridges across the Mississippi aren't friendly to wee machines like my Symba. But there are a couple that are. I crossed over one of these -- the McKinley Bridge.

I walked back along the bike trail to get this photo. It shows two of the three spans. On a cooler day I hope to go back and hike a bit further up the trail and get some better photos of the Bridge.
There is a small park on the Illinois side of the Bridge. It the background is what appears to be an old power plant that is being torn down.
Once in Illinois I continued up Hwy 3 for a while and then turned around and headed for home. Hopefully, the next time I venture this way I'll go farther. Yes, next time I plan to make it all the way to another bridge and make some photos for a certain  Pennsylvania blogger I know.

So, while others traverse continents I will be content, if not satisfied, with having two states on my riding resume. And, I will continue to merrily go on my way constantly on the lookout for a flamingo or two.

They are everywhere you know.


  1. Congrats on adding a state to your "States on 2 Wheels Map". St Louis, MI sounds very doable on your Symba. Your two biggest concerns as I see it is routing and being able to change and or patch a tube. One of my favorite tools for routing a trip is the book Road Food, knowing there will be great food ahead is a excellent motivator.


  2. Mate we are of similar nature, I dont half get wound up when I try to fix things, ( and i have never suffered from any head injury, hope you dont take offense to that). Some times we live out our dreams in other peoples. Following other peoples great travels helps get me through the wet days, dark nights and busy weeks.

    That is what is great about being on two wheels, even though you are not always doing it, you still "know" what the great feelings others are experincing.

    But I will leave you with this thought......Nothing and I mean nothing is impossiable, the only thing that will stop you achiving your dreams are....YOU!

  3. Don't diminish your efforts, you don't have to be a world traveler, a traveler is good enough. I like that you expand your horizon on Billie, but ever so carefully. Good for you.

    There are people who un-dust their Adventure-Bike once a year to do a few weeks 'epic' trip, only to put it back in storage after the ride.

    You are an everyday rider and all year rounder, which is more than most self proclaimed adventure riders can say.

    Way to go, Keith!

    PS: That obsession with flamingoes worries me a bit though ;-)

  4. Hey Keith relish your little journeys. Scoot journeys don't have to be epic in proportion to be great. Just enjoy your outings for what they are. ilike the pic with the flamingo in it.

  5. Good job Keith on making it to another State. A ride on two wheels is an adventure no matter where or how far you travel.

    Don't feel bad, I've only ridden my bikes in Oregon.

  6. I've only ridden my bike in one state. It's a couple of thousand miles to the next state. One of these years...

    (I did rent a bike in NV but I don't think that counts)

  7. Keith,

    There is a great joy in going the distance on a machine that's considered 'underpowered'

    I'm also very happy to see you attempting your own maintenance. I wish the whole world was so connected to the things they own.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  8. Congratulations on adding the second state! I remember reading about a gentlemen and his epic adventure on his trusty scooter that consisted of traversing parts of Washington state and making it into Canada for a donut on a three day weekend. Epic is definitely what you make of it, not other peoples definitions of it.

    Flamingos are going to take over the world!! Keep documenting and geo-tagging them.

  9. Great attitude, actually. I've found that if one isn't enough without something, they will never be enough with it.

  10. Not many get to do epic adventures (I'm not sure I'd really want to). Most of us stick with the little adventures, across state or across town. As for bike maintenance, it makes me anxious and impatient too. Actually anxious and impatient is a good descriptive of my personality in all situations...just ask my hubby. :)

    The bridge photo is intriguing. Leaves me wanting to see more. Ah yes, the flamingos. I'd forgotten about them. Must start keeping an eye out. You're right, they are everywhere once one starts to look!

  11. Dear Keith:

    I have made a new career out of taking short runs. And quite frankly, folks put so much emphasis on the long haul that they miss a lot going within a 125-mile radius.

    Regarding homespun motorcycle maintenance: Once, following the directions in the K75 manual (while looking at pictures), I overfilled the trans oil by a QUART! I had to have a wrench buddy come over the next day to drain everything and start again.

    Nothing gets me cursing and swearing like attempting to do simple stuff on this German bike. (And we are talking about stuff like changing bulbs.)

    But this raises another issue. Checking Mapquest, you are looking at a run of 550 miles (0ne way)on your bike to St. Louis, Michigan. That's running the slabs, which I don't think is part of your agenda. So you could be looking at 650 miles in one direction, or substantially less than 550 miles on much slower roads. Using a round trip figure of 1300 miles for the run, what kind of maintenance would your bike need? If you had the oil changed the week before that would be good for nearly three times that distance. Other than putting air in the tires, what would be the mechanical challenge?

    I have developed a very healthy respect for people who ride with the added bonus of physical challenges. I have no idea of the limitations you face... But you seem to laugh in the face of adversity. And that is the characteristic of a real rider.

    I wouldn't presume to be the biker you were headed to see in Pennsylvania, but I'd be delighted to meet you.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  12. GAW: I have no doubts it is doable. It is all about the routing. That is the primary reason I hadn't made it over to Illinois. I just didn't know the best route, but when looking for a route to Hannibal Google with no Highway suggested the route over the McKinley Bridge. It looks like a good route and I now know how to get over the McKinley. I sorta suspected I'd cross over the Eads first. Shows what I know.

    And, Food is good.

    Thanks for commenting.

  13. Roger: I know I'm not alone with the anxiety about "fixing things." I suppose a big part of what is behind this post has to do with the surprises of what I've gained and what I've lost. For example, I used to work with wood. Now I don't. I haven't the patience for it. That said, before the accident I didn't do music or art. Now, I do. These take patience. Why is the patience there and not other places. So, I will continue to "lean" against the anxiety and resistance. Who knows it may change. I do a number of things today I couldn't ten years ago. I've learned to not write things off. It is rather easy to be ones own worse enemy.

    Thanks for the support.

  14. Sonja: I have enjoyed the challenge of riding to work as many days as I possibly can. Now, I'm trying to figure out my next step with that. Do I accept the relatively few days I can't ride and get a bike/scooter that will give me some more versatility? Or, do I move toward possibly a sidecar to increase the days I can ride to work even more? Stay tuned. The answer is still to be determined.

    Thanks for your support. Much appreciated.

  15. Dar: Been enjoying the pictures of your vacation. Looks like a really cool place.

    I adore my rides. They have brought interesting people into my life and opened up vistas on St. Louis I'm pretty certain I would have never discovered in any other way.

    I'm glad you liked the flamingos. I'm sure the flamingo deities are smiling on you at this very moment :)

    Ride on. I'm looking forward to following your adventures as they unfold. I'm thinking they're going to be good.

  16. Tobairitz: "A ride on two wheels is an adventure no matter where or how far you travel." You said it.

    Thanks for the comment.

  17. Richard: Alaska is a big State indeed. Ah, but there are those little destinations, like the Arctic Circle and others that you will just have to make do with. :)

    Hmmmm, If you just rented a bike in NV then I'm sure it doesn't count, but if you rode it . . .

  18. Brady: It has been interesting the relationship that has developed between my service tech and me. While I get frustrated with doing the work he encourages me to watch everything he does. I'm getting pretty good at knowing my bike and can sense when something changes.

    I am drawn to the smaller cc bikes/scooters. There is something very special about spending a day on one.

    Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you stopping by.

  19. Lori,
    I have a couple of journeys on my mind. We'll see how all that comes down. It is amazing how full and rich my life is. I can't imagine leaving all the marvelous things that are around me for very long. I'm a pretty lucky chap these days and want to enjoy each moment.

    Starting to notice and photograph flamingos was such a total fluke, but I must say it is quite fun.

  20. Irondad--Dan: You got it!

    Thanks for stopping by.

  21. Bluekat: The Bridge has a story. I hope to be able to get some more photos of it. One of my adventures in the planning is to go back to the McKinley Bridge and get some more photos and then continue on up to Alton IL and gets some photos of the Clark Bridge. Lots on my plate so it may be Autumn here before that happens. But it is the plan.

    Before the onset of the Post Concussion Syndrome, I was rather imperturbable. It still surprises me how easy and quickly I emotionally decompose. Oh well, may that be my biggest problem.

    Yes, so many flamingos, so little time.

  22. Jack: The suggested service interval for the Symba is 600 miles. I use synthetic oil and have a couple times stretched it out to the 1000 mile mark, but am more comfortable changing oil at around 800 miles. So, it would be pushing the wee beast to do the trip to MI and back without an oil change.

    The Symba is pretty bullet proof for sure and I have no doubt the ride is doable. I suspect more than most I know not to predict what the future holds. Perhaps one day I will do it. I think I'm more interested in getting to the point I'd be confident to do it, more than the actual doing it.

    You are the PA blogger I was referencing, but not about a visit. That said, I'm grateful to know you would be delighted to meet me, as I would be meeting you. Rather the reference was to your suggestion in a comment on a previous post that I make the Clark Bridge a destination and get some more photos of it. As I mentioned above I have every intention of doing this. So, stay tuned.

    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your support very much.

  23. Bring your riding gear! We'll add a third state to your list :)

    So ride to MI get an oil change and then ride back :)

  24. Hey Keith, we have similar pursuits. Living on an island presents a great many bridge challenges. Nice blog! Take care, David.

  25. Look closely at any motorcycle journey and you will see that uit the rider not the machine that makes the trip. There is too much emphasis on machinery and tools and less on mental and physical preparation when inexperienced riders talk of two wheeled travel. As you are discovering.

  26. David: Thanks for stopping by. I've been enjoying reading about all the bridges you've been crossing. Fascinating area you live in.

  27. Conchscooter: Yes, indeed it is about the rider more than the machine. I followed your most recent ironbutt ride. One thing I took from it was that it's about the riding, and not the machine.

    The anxiety and lack of patience that rears its head when I face things mechanical is there when it comes to other things as well. And, of course, these compose the real barrier I'm pushing against.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Living indeed is about discovering.