Ride Of The Century – 8/31/2013

My brother Hiatt introduced me to the Ride Of The Century ROC. He found it online and told me all about it, but had never been himself. This year, he was able to come in town and participate in the event himself.

 

Since I had done the event the previous year, I had a general idea of what to expect and when to do things. Hiatt and I planned a long ride Saturday, ending at the family event where we could watch the motorcycle stunting in a parking lot. Our ride took us out historic highway 94 from St. Charles. After we went out, we started on our way back and worked our way North, using a local ferries to get us across the Missouri river.

We took the long way up the West side of the Illinois river to the town of Hardin, IL where there is a bridge that lets us join the Great River Road, going down the East side of the Illinois river. The Great River Road runs much closer to the river and has a fantastic view. Along the way, there are some very interesting towns…

 

Ultimately, we worked our way over to Top Shooter’s bar in Columbia, IL. There, we were able to watch bikers stunting in the parking lot. Unfortunately, it was nearly over when we got there, so we didn’t get to see as much riding as we wanted.

 

 

On a quick side note, this event used to be held at Big St. Charles motorsports. It was scheduled to be there, but cancelled at nearly the last minute. I had a feeling that the city/police didn’t want this event taking place. I later read an article in the Riverfront times stating that Big St. Charles was approached by the police eluding to them that they should not have the event if they knew what was good for their business. So instead of a large festival of motorcycles in a large safe parking lot, they were forced to stunt in a recently patched lot that wasn’t as safe.

On Sunday, the organized ride was to start at 2pm.  As Hiatt and I started to think about getting ready, we went out to start our bikes, and Hiatt’s bike wouldn’t start. He was having issues with the charging system on his bike. Instead of the fun lunch I had planned downtown for the two of us, I put his bike on my trickle charger and set off for a less exciting lunch. When we got back from lunch, his bike still didn’t want to start. Eventually I convinced Hiatt to pull his battery and put it in my bike. I could run mine for several minutes and get charge back in his. It wasn’t easy to switch the batteries, but running it with a high idle in mine for 10 minutes did the trick for the ride!

 

Ultimately, we were much later to the ride than we wanted, but that turned out for the best. The local police had some crazy roadblocks set up and were harassing motorcyclists with reckless abandon. The normal organized ride was broken up by the police. I’m disappointed in how the police dealt with motorcycles. One particular incident I witnessed had a car on the highway swerve from the fast lane to the exit ramp (4 lanes) right in front of a group of motorcycles with a police Tahoe vehicle about 15 feet behind the motorcycle. I’m not a fan of tailgating…

Overall it was a great weekend for two brothers to get together and ride their motorcycles even if the event that brought us together was a bit of a bust. When I asked Hiatt what he thought about the next year, he is already ready to come back!

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Hiking at Greensfelder – 9/13/2013

We didn’t spend much time hiking this summer, so we made sure to get out a few times in the fall.  The kids seemed to enjoy this trip to Greensfelder County Park.  Our hike started out with a few minutes to visit with a trio of horseback riders who let the kids pet the horses.  We finished the hike in the dark; thank goodness we brought flashlights!

 

 

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Race for the Rivers – 8/24/2013

Danelle decided to race in this annual event. She took “Breakdown” our unreliable Hobie Adventure kayak. We met JoJo at the St. Charles takeout and loaded her boat, then headed the 20 some miles upstream to the Klondike ramp for the start of the short race.

There was quite a turnout for the 20 mile race with all sorts of paddlers showing up to give the river all they had. I was in charge of the kids while Danelle raced.

One interesting note is that they have required safety equipment for the race, but they have never checked in the past. This year, they validated that every racer had a glow stick and whistle attached to their PFD (Personal Flotation Device or life jacket). Danelle had to do some quick talking to find somebody with extras that she could use. It worked out ok, but come prepared if you plan to do the race in the future!

With the racers off, I figured I had more than two hours before Danelle would be finished with the race, most likely closer to three hours. So I took the kids to Klondike park to climb up and look at the river bluff. As an added bonus, I wondered if I would see any racers doing the 40 mile race that started an hour earlier. To my surprise, I did see the front runners of the 40 mile race!

 

I managed to take the kids to Subway to get some lunch and get down to the finish area before Danelle completed the race. She did great, coming in the front of the pack for her race! With a wave, she makes it look easy!

 

Happy finishers are talking after the race! We hung out for a few hours after the race taking in some of the events and talking with other racers. A perfect day to celebrate the river!

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Broken Pulley on Hobie Mirage Drive – 8/17/2013

If you read my report on the 2013 MR340 race, you would know that my boat broke. More specifically, the Hobie Mirage drive. I finally got the drive back from the dealer I purchased it from. Here is a close up of the $6 pulley that failed, basically ending my race.

The image below demonstrates what happens when the wheel warps. You can see that the cable that is supposed to be in the channel comes off.

 

Ultimately with that cable out of the track, the drive is stressed in the parts that are working and a failure will happen. In my case, the metal chain snapped before the plastic teeth that it was driving. I should also mention that Hobie declined to pay for any of the labor to fix the issue, only covering the parts. They were reluctant to replace the parts, I had to insist.

I can’t in good faith recommend that anybody use a Mirage drive without tons of spare parts. If you have to pedal one, make sure to inspect the Mirage drive for any issues or you could end up with a total drive failure like I did!

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Ride with Dan – 8/16/2013

My buddy Dan recently got a new motorcycle. We talked about getting together to go riding and finally got around to it. I got off work just after lunch and called him to see about riding. Dan didn’t answer, but I just had to ride. So I left him a voice mail and then took off on my motorcycle. I occasionally checked my phone to see if he would call.

Eventually I did hear from Dan. He wanted to ride and would be ready at 4 pm. I changed course and headed to Downtown St. Louis to meet him for our ride. We took off into Illinois until we found I-255. Our goal was to head up North along the Great River Road. We wrapped around the highway North of town. We got off onto a lesser Illinois highway. Eventually after a fuel stop, we ended up working our way to the Great River Road. We took it West past Grafton. A minor detour took us up into Pere Marquette park where we stopped to check out the amazing view.

Following the road out of the park, we went back towards Grafton and stopped at “The Loading Dock” for dinner and a beer. Its a fantastic place, motorcycles get preferred parking inside. The patio sits at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. We watched several boats going out for the weekend.

 

Full of food and ready to ride again, we decided to take the ferry across the river to head back. Brussels Ferry to Golden Eagle Ferry

 

Between the Brussels Ferry [Illinois River — and Free] and Golden Eagle Ferry [Mississippi River] is some fantastic riding. The roads are not quite fully paved, so motorcycles have to take it a bit slow, but the scenery is fantastic. Ultimately, we ended up at Mid Rivers Mall drive. From there, Dan and I split up. The ride home was dark as we had been riding for a while, but worth it!

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