Tag: 690

ADV Spring Ride to Central Pennsylvania

ADV Spring Ride to Central Pennsylvania

This weekend I was able to get away for my first multi-day road trip of 2016. And, on top of that it was my first trip away on the KTM. AND on top of that, my first ride out with the Kriega bag that I bought over the winter. And you know what? On top of that… it kicked ass all the way around; everything down to the weather.

My trip was out to central Pennsylvania to a town called Newport. My first day planned route had me in the saddle for over 300 miles. For me to get off of Long Island and in to New Jersey, I’m committed to at least an hour of slab. Having Manhattan between me and everywhere else I want to be is sometimes a mental challenge.

Can’t lie – before leaving, I questioned whether sitting on the 690 for that length of time would be a miserable experience. Though I’ve got a Seat Concepts saddle which makes things worlds better than the KTM gel seat that was on there before, it isn’t perfect. The other thing I wasn’t so sure about was whether I would feel fatigued from battling the wind. Granted I toured around on a Speed Triple for a few years, but the 690 is a different ball game.

I don’t know if it was the general excitement of being free in the world or what, but I left home at 0’dark-thirty and just chugged along effortlessly on the slab until it was time to start the backroad leg of my ride. Any worries that I’d had about my butt cheeks or anything else fluttered away in my wake.

While I was riding along, I could see my license plate flapping in my shadow. Finding a parking lot (conveniently decorated with a sweet mural) I pulled over to secure it. The plate would inevitably break, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose it altogether. I quickly jury-rigged the plate on all corners and got back on the road.

The sun was out, the sky was blue and I still had hundreds of miles to soak up and things to see.

Seeing Rainbows and Other Riding Thoughts About Art

Seeing Rainbows and Other Riding Thoughts About Art

I followed the rainbow to its end and what did I find? A pot of gold? Aww, Hell NO – Hell 2 Da Naw Naw! I found a KTM. Insert swirly heart-shaped eyes emoji here.

Actually, I saw this mural when I was on my way to visit Calder’s Stegosaurus in Hartford. It kicked off a train of thought that’s nagged me many times over the last year or so. As a result of riding around and just looking at stuff, you draw many conclusions about people and the life that is lived in the places you pass through. Some of the conclusions you arrive at are right, some undoubtedly wrong, and for some maybe the truth is irrelevant.

Anyway, the rainbow mural made me think about how it seems like there is an economic divide that changes the way that neighborhoods or individual homes display art.

In lower-income areas, there’s a more ready acceptance of decorative expression on the exteriors of houses, on porches, in yards and on the sides of buildings. I’m not talking about just haphazard and shitty tagging – I mean people creating something they’re proud of displaying. It could be anything from painted birdhouses, signage, yard art or something that might end up listed on Roadside America. Even if you deem it to be lowbrow, right down to people decorating their houses for holidays.

As you start climbing up the economic ladder, neighborhoods become much more sanitized, more homogenized and manicured to the nth degree. Instead of displaying artwork outside, it moves indoors, moves in to frames or under spotlights and pieces becomes “important.” Occasionally, you’ll see a sculptural piece or a fountain outside but it seems that they’re kind of the exception. When is the last time you saw a blizzard of paper snowflakes or construction paper Valentine hearts taped to the windows of a McMansion?

As we move up the ladder do we lose our ability to love, display and enjoy making beautiful things just because?

Do you find this to be true in your travels?


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