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08/14/2001 Entry: "Ride West--Introduction"

My twentieth high school reunion is August 18, 2001, in Los Angeles. I decided that the perfect way to get there would be to ride my motorcycle from my current city of residence, Atlanta, to the reunion, with a stop in the Bay Area on the way. I'll let the reader draw his or her own conclusions about why since I haven't really bothered to put them into words. This was to be my first extended vacation in several years, so I planned to take 16 days away from work. In order to do this, I had to arrange to have the motorcycle shipped back from Los Angeles because there wasn't time for me to ride it back. I'm no Iron Butt rider and multiple thousand mile days just don't appeal to me. Some of you might be interested in the gear I put together for the ride, so that's the first part of my little narrative. The next parts are day-by-day accounts of the ride itself.

Only the first day's account was actually written on the day in question, the accounts for day's two through seven were all written on the day after my arrival in Oakland. I call most of the non-Interstate roads that I travelled "Highways," although I'm sure many of them are actually "State Routes." I didn't take notes as to which was which, so I choose to call them all "Highways." If you look at a map, you'll be able to tell what I'm talking about.

A note about my travelling speeds: Most of my riding, on both the interstates and the smaller roads, was at indicated speeds in excess of the posted limits, often 20 or more miles per hour over. On the interstates, I tended to ride at indicated speeds of between 80 and 90 mph. On the two-lane highways, I generally travelled at indicated speeds ranging from 60-80 mph, except where that would be too dangerous either for conditions or for my riding capabilities and except for the central Nevada two-lanes where I travelled at indicated speeds between 80 and 110 mph, depending upon terrain. I did not have a radar detector with me and I saw very few law enforcement officers except at state lines on the Interstate and at the Nevada-California border. Why do I say "indicated" speeds? Because very few speedometers are accurate and it is apparently common knowledge that BMW speedos tend to be fast by around 8% of the indicated speed. Thus, indicated 100mph might actually be 92mph or even less. I don't have a GPS to test my actual versus indicated speeds against.