Friday, August 14, 2009

Random Thoughts

We experienced various electronic equipment problems along the way. While none of them were show-stoppers, each was a hassle when it was occurring. We have bike-to-bike communications that generally work pretty well. On this trip, we had trouble getting the VOX settings right. VOX determines when the microphone cuts on and off. If it is too sensitive, it is on too much, picking up sounds of breathing, wind, engine noise, etc. If it is not sensitive enough, you have to yell in order to be heard. At one point, Gary’s VOX was so sensitive that I could hear every sound he made; his microphone was “on” 100% of the time, which did not allow me to be able to tell him his VOX was 100%. I unplugged my system because I did not want to hear him breathe and grunt. Complicating this was a third rider, Linda. So, we had to stop several times, take the seat off, and make adjustments to try to get it right. After several adjustments, we got it working pretty well. We also learned that an immediate response from the “listener” was not heard by the first speaker because VOX stays on for several seconds when sound has stopped. But it is working well now.

My satellite radio lost its antennae along the way. No, not physically lost it, but the connection between the antennae and the radio became corroded or something, making the connection troublesome. I could wiggle the radio in its cradle and get it to work a few seconds, but it did not last. I tried some dielectric grease on the connections to see if that would help. It didn't help a bit. When I got home, I contacted Sirius to see if the warranty was still good. It was, so a replacement is now on the way. This has happened before, so it’s a weak spot in the system.

Gary’s GPS started working weirdly. At one point along the way, when we were riding and he had not touched the unit, it asked him if he wanted to save the spot where we were. It shouldn’t do that. Also, his screen started doing several things that were not right. I think he may have to send it back to Garmin to have it checked out. The routing works good, so it’s not the end of the road. Oh, and he lost his antennae to his XM radio one day, similar to my connection problem, too. However, his antennae problem was corrected by removing the Garmin and reinstalling it on its cradle.

Cultural differences:

I noted along the way several differences between us southerners and these Canadians. One involved different words, such as:

-Overlook is lookoff. The sign used to denote a place where you can pull off the road to see a scenic site.

-Toilet room is wash room.

-Some manholes are square. I notice manholes when on the bike because they pose some hazard, especially when wet. And I’ve never seen a square manhole until this trip. While there’s a mix of both round manholes and square ones, it seems that the older communities have more square ones than newer communities. It’s just different from home.

-French fries with gravy. Ugh! I tried some, and have to say that the fries I got, with the gravy they provided, were not good. I guess it’s one of those things that if you grow up eating them, they’re good. I didn’t, and they weren’t!

-Their hazard signs are different. The sign is covered in a checkerboard design with an arrow or pictorial showing what the hazard is. After learning them, I like them better than our hazard sign. Just different…

One thing that is worth iterating again—the people in Nova Scotia are the most friendly and helpful people I’ve ever come across. Their attitude is genuinely “what can I do to help”. It seems to be pervasive in the culture of the region, and I love it. If the rest of the world could only have this attitude, we would have a better planet.

Why do I do the blog? It’s for several reasons. One primary reason is to have a place where I can capture my thoughts and feelings and experiences so that they are easy for me to recall later. When you’re on the road for multiple weeks, the days run together, and it’s hard to remember what happened where and when. The Blog takes care of that problem.

Another primary reason is that my brother, Jeff, seems to really enjoy reading them. He tells me that it’s the first thing he does when he gets up in the morning, to look for a new post of my adventures. Knowing that it means that much to him makes my heart warm. So, even though a lot of nights, I’m pretty tired from riding, I want to blog for him. I also do it for other friends and family. I know some others read it regularly, and it’s a good way to share my life with them. I’m not offended if some don’t read it; I’m just happy that some do seem to enjoy it.

So, that’s really why I do it. I like doing it, but truthfully there are some nights when it’s a labor of love.

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