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My Honda Rebel Blog: Memorable Rides
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

* November, 2006 blog * * October, 2006 blog * * September, 2006 blog * * August, 2006 blog * * July, 2006 blog * * June, 2006 blog * * May, 2006 blog * * April, 2006 blog * * March, 2006 blog * * February, 2006 blog * * January, 2006 blog * * December, 2005 blog * * November, 2005 blog * * October, 2005 blog * * September, 2005 blog * * August, 2005 blog * * July, 2005 blog * * June, 2005 blog * * May, 2005 blog *

"My Twenty-four Thousandth Mile Run"

On Saturday, April 28, 2007, I ran my mileage up to 23,981. I probably could have made it to mile 24,000, but Saturday was far too busy for an interesting ride. And I wanted an interesting ride for this milestone.

Even though I got up before six on Sunday, it was not in my plans to make an early morning ride. For some reason, I wanted to include a stop at a Half Price Books on this ride. If I left too early, the Half Price would not be open.

So, I spent the morning reading, and we took Sarah for her walk around 8:30. (Just to assure regular readers, Sarah had had her breakfast hours earlier.) After the walk, I did some painting on a new bee hive trap for small hive beetles (another story entirely), while Maria fixed breakfast. After the painting and the eating, we did a spring cleaning on our backyard pond.

Maria had signed us up for the Houston Pond Society pond tour the first weekend in June, and the pond was in need of some leaf removal. Even though all the books advise one to not put a pond under a tree, we had sited ours under the live oak in the back. And this spring the tree had rewarded us with tons of leaves and pollen tassles. Ugh. Getting all that debris out of the pond took a lot longer than I had predicted. Before I knew it, the sun was mid-way in the sky, and my stomach was crying for lunch. And we hadn't even had time for second breakfast!

We grabbed quick showers, and a quicker lunch, and headed for Nelson's Water Gardens to buy some plants and fish. Nelson's was the destination of my first long motorcycle ride on Houston freeways, so it seemed appropriate that I would go there on the day of my twenty-four thousand mile run, even if I had to travel in Maria's Jeep.

Our outing was a success, and we returned home to float a bag of three comets and one sarasa comet for the required time (fifteen minutes). While the fish got used to the pond temperature, I changed into my riding gear, and checked the air in the tires. I released the fish, and headed for the garage. By this time it was 5:20 p.m.

After donning my boots, gloves and helmet, I headed out for the warm-up portion of my ride. The temperature was wonderful, and it felt great to be back in the saddle. The streets were dry, and I only needed nineteen miles to make my goal. No problem.

I entered I-10, heading west. I took the West Loop to the north, then got on I-45, heading north. Traffic was heavy, but fast. Everyone stayed in his lane. Often, there is back-up on I-45, even on the weekends. But this time traffic flowed at a steady pace as I headed for the exit for Beltway 8.

I had hoped to be at the top of the world when the odometer rolled over. I call that the exit from Beltway 8 to Highway 59 South. However, as I watched the odometer, I realized that was not going to happen. There was no way I would make it that far before the mileage turned over. Plus, I saw on one of the freeway traffic billboards that there was a major accident at Greens Road. I wanted to go to the Half Price at FM 1960 and Highway 59, but I didn't relish enduring the backup at Greens Road. I was deciding what to do when I noted that the mileage was about to turn over. I was still a couple of miles from the Beltway.

Fortunately, the traffic had let up a little. I accelerated to a high speed and, just at the magic moment, I did the bird (both hands extended out at a ninety degree angle from my body) as the odometer rolled over from 23,999.9 to 24,000.0

I continued on north, and took the exit for Intercontinental Airport. At mile 24,007 I noted that the traffic was rapidly slowing down. I wasn't even to the Beltway exit for JFK Boulevard yet. I sure hoped this was not something to do with the Greens Road wreck.

Anyway, I slowed down, and put some distance between myself and the pickup ahead of me. All the lanes were going slowly. I decided to move one lane over to the left, even though I was going to be exiting to the right within a mile or so. That move saved me from having to plow through someone,s furniture. I could not tell exactly what the piece was, but the wood was being rapidly ground up into matchstick sized pieces by all the traffic. It was so thick that the cars and pickups were simply rolling over whatever it was, without even attempting to steer around the debris. I got lucky, in that I picked a path between piles of wood, and I didn't have to run over anything. Mostly, that was because I was in the second lane from the right, and not due to superior weaving ability. Still, I was glad for small favors. Every time I hit some debris on the freeway, I have high anxiety that I will have to replace a tire on the Rebel. Ugh.

Fortunately, all ended well this time. Once clear of the wood pile, I slipped back into the right hand lane and took the exit for Highway 59, South. I love this exit. You go up, up and up, while making a graceful curve. You can see vast amounts of the horizon as to do all of this, and the Houston skyline pops into view upon completion of the exit. A great sight.

I quickly exited Highway 59, took the feeder road to the first u-turn, then headed back north. I took the FM 1960 exit off 59, and let off the gas. No traffic was behind me. There are two lights for 1960. I made the first one on yellow. I was doing about 45 mph at the time. I caught the second light, right at the last minute. I decided to practice a quick stop at speed.

I usually travel with the first and second fingers of my right hand on the brake lever. So I simply squeezed those two fingers, applied a slight amount of rear brake, and pulled in the clutch. I calculated that I would need a little more front brake to stop in time, and I squeezed a little harder. Everything came together, and I stopped right on the line for the intersection.

Feeling good, I headed over to Half Price. A glance at my watch revealed that it was now just after six. I decided to allow myself twenty minutes at Half Price.


About an hour later, I headed out with two books on philosophy, one on economics and one on music theory (don't ask). It had been a good haul. And, just as importantly, everything would fit in my jacket. Suitable loaded up with the books, I headed back home. The ride back was uneventful, but lots of fun. Highway 59 is usually not as crowed as I-45, and that proved to be the case today. Before I knew it, I was back at the house.

It had been a good ride. Not as long as I had wanted it, but every bit as full as I had hoped. And the books were excellent. What more could I ask for? Anyway, when I got back home, the odometer read 24,040 miles. I parked the bike and walked to the pond to check on the fish. They seemed to have adjusted to their new environment. And I was still enjoying mine. See you on the road. And don't forget to think.

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For the November, 2006, blog entries, click here.

For the October, 2006, blog entries, click here.

For the September, 2006, blog entries, click here.

For the August, 2006, blog entries, click here.

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For the July, 2006, blog entries, click here.

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For the June, 2006, blog entries, click here.

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For the May, 2006, blog entries, click here.

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For the April, 2006, blog entries, click here.

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For the March, 2006, blog entries, click here.

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For the February, 2006, blog entries, click here.

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For the January, 2006, blog entries, click here.

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For the December, 2005, blog entries, click here.

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For the November, 2005, blog entries, click here.

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For the October, 2005, blog entries, click here.

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For the September, 2005, blog entries, click here.

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For the August, 2005, blog entries, click here.

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For the July, 2005, blog entries, click here.

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For the June, 2005, blog entries, click here.

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For the May, 2005, blog entries, click here.

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*Note to Law Enforcement:

All statements of speeds on various streets are simple estimates, and solely for novelity purposes. Actual speeds vary, but are always lower. I'm sure that legal speed limits are never exceeded, anything in this blog to the contrary nowithstanding.

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