Motorcycle Metrics & Seeking Sophos

Posted By on Jul 22, 2012 | 0 comments


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The sum of any journey must be more than miles or else what’s the point of going? My recent trip on the Harley was taken to see friends, put miles on two wheels and, as I repeatedly said, to “clear my head.”

Funny thing. My head came along for the ride. More on that shortly.

Motorcycle metrics

Vehicle: 2003 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic
Route: As shown below
Distance: 1493.3 miles (2403.2 km)
Fuel burn: 37.432 gallons (141.7 liters)
Average MPG: 40
Most expensive fuel: $4.099/gallon in Bellevue

The Heritage is an extremely comfortable ride. I’ve ridden it for over six hours in a day with little fatigue. The thing that gets the most tired for me is my throttle wrist. For a 700-lbs (317.5 kg) vehicle, it’s also responsive in all five gears, even if it’s not a crotch rocket.

Harley Davidson is my religion, given that I have no religion.

Seeking sophos

Sophos (or sophia) means “wise” or “wisdom” and originally was used to describe anyone with expertise in a specific domain of knowledge or craft. Even a charioteer could be a sophoi. A charioteer I’m not but a dedicated rider I am, forever trying to describe a better curve.

But that’s a joy for me. Not like the search for sophos that goes on in my head, which is eternally more problematic. This was apparent the first day out, when instead of clearing my head, it was full of more chatter than usual.


View July 2012 in a larger map

Some of the chatter involved my choice of route, as in “This route was a stupid choice.” Goldendale, WA, my first stop, is not a 5-Star destination (or even 2-Star). I’d only expected to spend the first night there but I found its rural-small-town desertion a bit depressing.

Still, no choice of route can truly be stupid. That’s absurd. Only thinking makes it so; no less true for Goldendale than Denmark.

After dinner I decided to ride. The young woman at the Quality Inn told me that the Columbia River was only ten minutes away and that I could ride down to “Stonehedge.” I didn’t correct her. After all, the one on the Columbia is not a Neolithic earthwork but a concrete war memorial that could as easily be called a “hedge” as a “henge.”

The Maryhill Stonehenge is a full-size, astronomically-aligned replica of Stonehenge located in Maryhill, Washington (Wikipedia). It’s impressive, as was Samuel Hill’s motivation for building it.

Each day of the trip brought its own gifts and challenges. I’ll post more about that in the coming days along with more pictures. However, I’m about to set out again this week so I don’t know if I’ll get this trip fully reported before the next starts. I love not having a job.

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