Saturday, October 21, 2006

Autumn MINI

Went to Nishant (Purdue friend)'s house in Michigan City over the weekend to celebrate the Indian Festival of Diwali and here's a few pictures from our evening drive into the surrounding woods. Pictures should have been taken earlier in the day, but it was overcast anyways.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Track Day Prep

I'm getting all excited about my second track day at Putnam on Oct 14 and 15. Since I'm getting a hitch installed on the MINI and will be trailering Myra down to the track (the way it's supposed to be done, as opposed to riding to the track like the first time) I'm able to get her track ready before getting to the track.

Getting her track ready require just a few simple things: removing of mirrors and taping up all glass/plastic that could shatter during a crash and spread debris on the track. Interestingly, the windscreen is not required to be taped up, but it can shatter on the track as my nice sport-touring shield did so during the first weekend. Since the headlights and the tail light are always on for a motorcycle, the fuses also need to be pulled so that the heat doesnt burn the tape. At tech inspection during the first weekend, I'd forgotten about the reflectors and even the license plate light. This time I just removed the reflectors.

The registered number of the bike needs to be displayed on the front in numbers that are at least 6 inches long so that corner workers can read the numbers and report you if you're doing anything funny on the track. It's also advised to have the numbers on the tail. The first track day, I had to ride there and also take my camping equipment with me so the rear seat was on. Putting the seat cowl back on really adds to the race image of the bike.

Myra finally looking like a race bike with racing numbers and the seat cowl, sans mirrors. Yes, she's missing a rear wheel, but I planned to do a stoppie around the track anywayzzz...

The numbers on the back came out quite nice, I think. The seat cowl looks a bit funny since it's all shiny and new (never been used) as opposed to the scratched up fairings. Maybe I should run some sand paper over the cowl and get it to blend better with the bike. I think I should at least get a new Suzuki sticker, haha.

Flows well with the bike lines...

5 sets of used race tires for mine and Andy's track day needs. He gets the 2 190s and I get the 3 180s. Got them for free from a fellow CLSB road racer. Those garbage cans sure do come in handy around the garage.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Southern Indiana: Where The Corn Fields Don't Grow

One last hurrah for the season was in order so Dan and I joined Andy in visiting his parents in Louisville for their 40th wedding anniversary. Wow! Weather was going to be around 70 F for the weekend with lots of sunshine and since Andy and Dan had chickened out of the predicted rain for the Flat 4 Tour, this would be their Flat 3 Tour, all though it wasn't that flat at all.

There are some good twisties in Southern Indiana and I don't think we rode enough of them. Definitely another trip probably early next season will be needed. With the leaves changing color, it made the ride more enjoyable as you'll see in the pictures below.

The anniversary dinner was at Ruth's Chris Steak House (the odd name steak house but with excellent food) and we're all bummed we didn't bring our cameras as the restaurant was atop a 13th story office building with great views of the Louisville area and the bluffs across the river in Indiana, that too with the sun setting. It was close to the interstate as well and from the balcony we were commenting how bikers looked like little ants on the freeway.

On Sunday morning, everyone was in great spirits and the morning roads really provided some heart-pumping action. I wasn't very comfortable on Saturday's twisties, don't know why, but I felt right at home on Sunday morning and it made the weekend for me.

There was no incident with the popo other than that I'm pretty let down by my Escort Solo S2, which didn't detect two genuine radar blips that Andy's Valentine 1 picked up. I tried adjusting the position of the detector but to no avail. I might just have to spring for the V1.

On the way back, in Indy we hit I-65 to join the mass traffic back to Chicago. The great thing is I-65 always moves fast. Slow lane was doing about 80 and fast last 90 and above. We were making good progress and I kept looking for the carrot (fast car to follow and hopefully get the radar hit instead of us). We came across this group of Chevy Avalanches, which were on dubs and had some fancy paint jobs and they all seemed to be sponsored by the same Chevy dealer. They were doing about a 100, which was fine but then when we came across some moving road blocks and they started overtaking on the shoulders! Both left and right side. Now, that's just unsafe driving and what about easily getting a puncture and causing a wreck on the highway. We were also riding fast and aggressive but I don’t think our maneuvers endangered the cagers around us.

Anywayz, it was a good weekend and also a good alternative to the usual Wisconsin twisties, all though it does require two days to get down and dirty in Indiana.

The overall route map for the weekend. Around 1000 miles over the weekend for me.

Day 1
Saturday, October 7, 2006
Start: Chicago, IL, 6:30 am CDT
End: Lousiville, KY, 4:30 pm EDT
Mileage: 417

The usual Flying J gas stop in Lebanon where we stop at everytime we head down this way. It's situated a good 115 miles from Schereville, where we also usually gas before entering and leaving Indiana (cheaper gas). (Picture courtesy Dan)

The best way to get from Indy to Louisville

Old State Road 37, north of Bloomington. It was a beautiful crisp Fall day.

Dan on a very empty SR 37

Andy (Picture courtesy Dan)

Cows, again...

Broasted Chicken for lunch (Picture courtesy Dan)

Bedford, IN to Paoli through Shoals. US-150 was a very nice rhythmic road...

English on the right, Espanol on the left... who named these towns??

Dan's Honda at the Overlook of the Ohio River at Leavenworth, IN looking across at Kentucky.

Oh no! Rick's terrible helmet self-portrait technique wearing off on Dan. But you know, he does a better job than Rick, haha. (Picture courtesy Dan)

From English, IN through Corydon to Louisville and back. KY-44 was a nice road along with IN-62.

Day 2
Sunday, October 8, 2006
Start: Lousiville, KY, 10:00 am EDT
End: Grayslake, IL, 8:30 pm CDT
Mileage: 525

Getting ready to leave Andy's parent's house in Louisville on Sunday morning. (Picture courtesy Andy)

On IN-62

Heading north on IN-37

The very cresty IN-58 and of course IN-135 through Brown Country State Park. We caught air on some of the crests on IN-58, very exciting.

Dan on IN-135. Good form for a straight road!

Such posers...

A massive moving road block through some of the best twisties in Indiana. Being such a beautiful day at around 75 degrees, every form of rider was out on IN-135, from slow cruisers to squids. It was no point to even overtake them, since we just kept on running into more and more of them. (Picture courtesy Andy)

Ah yes.. doing what we do best... hanging off on a straight :p (Picture courtesy Andy)

Instead of following the train through the twisties, we stopped often for pictures.

Story of my life - coming to Freetown (the US) from Brownstown (India) and notice how I'm duly following the yellow line around the corners, isn't that we're supposed to do... those cruisers, I tell you... (Picture courtesy Dan)

Unexpected sight in Nashville, IN: a Ferrari F355 Spyder, a Lambo Diablo VT 6.0 and 2 Gallardos! At least they were out taking them through the twisties, or so we hope.

A mini MINI cooper, or more like Austin Mini, right-hand drive and all.

Awesome paint job on a GSX-R750. Did we mention we saw tonnes and tonnes of sportbikes and squids (these guys were at least geared, I'm guessing they're from Bloomington). Some squids even walked over and checked out our luggage at the gas stop and the Beemer that we had in tow.

Back on Old SR 37

Freshly paved road

Cords starting to show at about 200 miles from home on the Diablo Stradas.

Tried my best to capture the full moon on Lake Michigan from Lake Shore Drive. Truly beautiful in person.

Got home with the cords breaking through. First time that I've run a tire to the cords. Not bad mileage on this tire: 7500 miles and one track day session... would buy them again.