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2010 Deadhorse Alaska Trip

'Tuesday June 1st, 2010 10:00'
This ride is over.

Phil and his friend Charlie, left a while ago get a new rear tire put on Phil's bike. The tires he had selected were fine for a twisty place like Deal's Gap but were not suited for thousands of miles of highway. Last night we noticed chords showing.

I've spent the morning futzing with my bike's exhaust system. The patch we had put in place hasn't held and the leak is getting worse.

The reason this is bad has to do with cold air. The break is only 20 inches or so from the cylinder. Exhaust valves in the head become very hot. If there isn't enough length of pipe between the exhaust valve and the outside world, it's possible during decelleration to pull cool air from the break back up to the hot exhaust valves.

You know what happens to hot glass when you pour cold water on it? Yea, like that.

So I fear cracking exhaust valves. It may be a moot point as the valves on cylinder #1 might already be damaged. Once I reach Boston, which is still 1000 miles away, I should be able to tell.

A new exhaust system should be waiting for me there as well.

We're in a place called North Bay, Ontario. Phil had wanted to avoid the long straight roads of Michigan, opting instead to go up and over the Great Lakes. Tomorrow we descend into New York.

These are travelling days filled with cars, traffic, passing, and disquiet. Riding styles matter and our styles differ. Phil has a "every man for himself while being together" kind of style. He'll ride on ahead and leave others behind but will wait for them to catch up if he gets too far ahead. He'll decide to stop and wave us on to ride on ahead and then catch up later.

I, on the other hand, have a more military unit style of riding. We ride in formation each rider occupying half a lane in a staggered pattern. We ride together. Everything gets done as a unit. If I'm leading and want to pass I wait until there is enough room for those behind me to pass as well. I signal to them my intention and we all go, the leader lingering in the passing lane long enough to show the followers there is no oncoming traffic. The leader is responsible for those behind him. Those following are responsible for paying attention to the leader. No one gets lefts behind.

Phil's friend, Charlie, a man who is challenging preconceptions that I did not know I had, seems to be somewhere in the middle between Phil and I.

Between a broken exhaust, trying not to use the engine to brake which means I can't just let off the gas I have to think it through carefully and be very smooth, traffic, keeping up with Phil and watching out for Charlie behind me yesterday really took it out of me more than I realized.

But at least I've been able to sleep for two nights. Phil, to his credit, is concerned and is being accomodating. We'll all do our best to meet somewhere in the middle.

Like I've said, I'm out here to See and Think differently. It's been very many years since I've ridden any significant miles with guys who ride differently than I do. So while challenging, this is good. It shows me how, in this particular realm, I'm different and gives me the vocabulary to describe myself when people ask.

It's also a good challenge to work with someone else taking their position into account to find a compromise that works for everyone.

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