Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I don’t normally rise out of bed on a Monday looking forward to tackling the day.  This Monday was different because today I take a short 250 mile ride into Maine and New Hampshire and finally arrive at the Shark Week IV hotel.  Arrival day is probably my favorite.  It’s a rush to see all my friends ride in, some solo, others in groups.  Most I have met in previous years; others I’ve only corresponded with on our Road Glide discussion forums.  In any case, the shaking of hands, bumping of fists, and the man hugs are the icing on the cake after riding 2,300 miles to get here.

I rode off from Andy's place and met up on the road with two fellow Texans who also happened to be staying in   Massachusetts overnight on Sunday.  We coordinated meeting locations so we could ride the final leg in our own little shiver of sharks.  The skies were clear, the wind was almost nonexistent, and the temperatures were perfect for a long sleeve t-shirt half day in the saddle.  Somewhere along Interstate 95, I collided with something; an object on the road
This Vent; But on the Other Side
that was small enough to fit through my lower fairing vent, yet solid enough to shatter the plastic adjustable door that covers the vent.  The force of whatever it was combined with the turbulence of 75mph and 80lbs of inertia sent pieces of plastic sailing upward, one of which made its way between my glasses and socked me in the eye.  It felt like a bee sting.. Realizing there was nothing I could do about it and not wanting to be that guy who holds everyone up, I just ignored it and rode on.  When we finished our ride to the hotel, I could feel the cool traces of moisture constantly running down my cheek as my eye kept tearing up.  I was wearing sunglasses, so neither I nor anyone else noticed the swelling or the black spot.  I removed the glasses once the sun went down, but the evening kept my condition masked and I didn’t notice it until I got back to my room, although a few people looked at me funny (which I'm accustomed to) and even fewer actually asked me what happened.  My eye was irritated, but I chalked it up to excessive wind.  Once in my room, I removed my contact lens and noticed it was torn.  No wonder my eye was so sore.  The swelling started close off my eye, so I grabbed some ice from the machine in the hall.  Sure glad I always travel with my glasses and a spare pair of contact lenses.  For this trip, I brought two pair.  Here’s hoping I don’t need another replacement.

We arrived at the Town & Country Inn and Suites around noon and rode around behind the main building to the hospitality tent, signed in, and collected our goody bag consisting of patches, stickers, and other trinkets.  Many riders actually arrived on Sunday and were already out in the hills.  Still, there were plenty of new and familiar faces to greet and catch up.  The host hotel staff seem extremely gracious, accommodating, and seem to genuinely appreciate our presence.  The crew from Maine who put this year's event together did an outstanding job of setting their expectations and then managing them as the months passed and riders made reservations.  Some hotels will take a biker group's money and merely tolerate their presence.  I've been most impressed with their hospitality.

By early evening, the majority of riders were back from their day's ride or had arrived for the first day as we just had.  The meet & greet was on full steam and the parking lot behind the main building was abuzz with bikes rolling in at parade speeds with exhaust pipes rumbling as riders scanned the scene for familiar faces, or at least for name tags with familiar names.  With 175 bikes, we pretty much had the entire hotel property reserved.  Some riders were taking advantage of the bike wash area the hotel set up for us, complete with a high pressure hose and a pile of towels.  Despite the fact that Hester was a mess from 600+ miles of rain, I was not one of those people.  I was too busy playing social butterfly and greeter.

There were no official rides scheduled on the arrival day.  That fact, coupled with the free
kegs of beer from a local brewery meant it didn't take long for the bullshit to run as deep as the Androscoggin River, adjacent to the hotel.  By 9:00pm, I was dragging, despite the fact that I only rode about 250 miles that day.  I had signed up for a Tuesday morning ride that was scheduled to depart at 8:30.  Also, I was tired of people asking me why I was crying.

I made my way to my room, which was in a separate building on the opposite end of the campus from the
festivities.  This is probably a good thing; otherwise I wouldn't have gotten any sleep knowing there's a party outside my door.  Out of earshot, out of mind.

I finished unpacking and when I looked in the mirror, quickly realized why everyone was looking at me so funny.  My favorite comment was "Wow Shrug, sure didn't take you long to piss someone off!" I fired up my laptop to post some pictures and also quickly realized the Wi-Fi service in my room was as robust as the Sprint cellular service.  The wireless geek in me jumped into action.  The Wi-Fi signal strength was excellent, but it was as it the access point wasn't attached to anything that was connected to the Internet.  I ran through a dozen possible causes and solutions before the lazy vacationing sloth in me managed to beat down the geek and I just decided to let it go.  I found the service acceptable in the lobby, which is where I go to post after  writing.  First riding day is tomorrow, but for now, I need sleep.

Sharks Aplenty as Far as the Eye (or Camera) Can See
Kid Safe Cursing!

According to My Mirror, I Was Closer Than I Appeared.

What Eye Injury?