Last Wednesday I took my first long solo trip on the Magic Carpet. By solo I mean just me on the motorcycle and not just one motorcycle. I’ve grown very accustomed to having Donna sitting behind me and having her to talk with. I just enjoy having her back there and it’s not just for the neck and shoulder rubs on long trips (although those are a big plus). Our young beagle had very recently had spinal surgery and Donna needed to stay at home with her as she can’t be put in a kennel yet, even though she is healing ahead of schedule. I headed down from metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia to the Daytona Beach, Florida area. My Mom is a breast cancer survivor and has now acquired another malady that puts her in yet another fight. Mom & Dad needed some help with a few things. Mom’s just not up to getting out and doing things like cleaning gutters and patio furniture with Dad right now. This is a 480 mile door to door trip and would be all interstate this time.
I had planned to leave at about 6:00 am so that I could be well ahead of rush hour traffic on the interstate. Well plans don’t always work out and I wasn’t rolling until just before 7:00 am. Yes, I got up on time. I kissed Donna goodbye and was rolling. I wasn’t on Interstate 75 very long before I was greeted with brake lights in front of me. The traffic was brutal. It made me happy that I’m retired and no longer have to make that trip everyday at that time. The traffic added at least another hour to my trip. My travel time was over 10 hours to get to Florida! The weather wasn’t bad either, being cloudy or overcast most of the way.
Coming home the following Tuesday was just the opposite. It was the same route but I got on the road at 6:00 am this time after saying goodbye to Mom & Dad. The sun began to rise from the Atlantic Ocean over my right shoulder as I rode north. Temperatures were even the same as the trip down. Both times I started out with temperatures in the low 60’s (F) and they rose to the mid 70’s (F) for my destination. Only for the return trip I had blue, cloudless skies. This time I made the trip in 7 hours and 16 minutes of driving (moving time) according to the GPS. I arrived home 9 hours and 10 minutes after I left. That time included two meal stops and 3 gas stops. I was pretty impressed that I made it from Daytona Beach to Valdosta, GA on a tank of gas and still had just over 50 miles left according the K1200LT’s trip computer.
This was my first long trip using my earplugs which made a world of difference. The earplugs had a lot to do with the lack of fatigue from the sound. A quite noticeable difference. Wearing the ear plugs for that long (other than meal stops) caused me no physical discomfort. I also paired the Scala Rider Teamset Pro with my Windows Phone instead of the GPS this time. As I approached my parent’s home while I was traveling on I-95 I was able to call them with an updated ETA. They had no idea that I was actually calling from the motorcycle and said it just sounded like I was outside. I know the nemesis of motorcyclists is text messaging drivers. But on the way home, a friend and Donna both sent me a few, that the phone read to me and I replied by voice commands and speaking he message coincidentally while either pumping gas or preparing to leave from lunch (so I guess I wasn’t texting and riding after all). I really wasn’t too happy with the volume of the messages and the few phone calls until I remembered that I had to raise the volume on the phone and not on the intercom! Would I leave the phone paired to the Scala? No. I’d just assume leave it paired to the GPS. But this was a special trip and I didn’t need the GPS for directions and just used it for arrival time purposes. My new Windows Phone doesn’t have all the features my last Windows Phone did. In testing it, the old phone would voice announce the caller by name and use the phone’s ringer or the caller’s unique ring if they had one. It would also announce who the text message was from so you could “listen or ignore”. The new phone just uses a generic phone ringer with no voice announce and merely informs you of “new text message” and asks if you want to listen now or later. I liked the features on the old phone better. But since I don’t plan on using except for an interstate trip like this one, it doesn’t really bug me. I’d rather have the GPS directions sent to the Scala. The Scala Rider Teamset Pro allow only one additional Bluetooth connection to each headset in addition to the one already taken by the intercom.
When leaving Florida in the dark, a motorist pulled up next to me and told me “You know the back of your helmet is flashing?” I told him it was to make me more visible, especially in low light conditions. He laughed and said “Well I guess it works then!” Our helmets have a red LED light in the rear that can be set to off, steady on, slow flash or fast flash. He was right, I guess it works. My Dad had also run down the driveway calling at me to tell me my helmet was “blinking”.