19 November 2012
Two-Wheeling In Destin
Whirlwind. Treadmill. Call it what you want.
We just returned from 11 days in Florida and I need a vacation.
A little review:
I've worked it out so my last few months at work will be spent on a 14-day on, 14-day off schedule.
We'll spend the 14-off part watching dolphins swim by in front of our balcony.
I wanted to take the 'Wing South so we could ride when the weather permits there... pretty much the only time I'd be riding here at home during these Winter months would be to exercise the machines and keep batteries reasonably charged. I can foresee riding more than half the days in Destin, even if it's just short hops to the grocery for a dozen eggs and a loaf of bread.
I bought the Ram Diesel partly to transport motorcycles. It's an extended cab/long bed, so the bed can haul stuff that doesn't need to be protected from the weather, while the back seat area can be filled with non-weatherproof items.
About a week before our departure I started brainstorming how I was gonna load the 'Wing into the truck. I had purchased a tri-fold ramp, similar to the one in the video (but wider). These types of ramps come in varying lengths and widths, obviously the longer and wider ones generally are more expensive. The problem with loading a bike onto a pickup is the height of the bed...
Longer ramps make the approach angle to the bed less acute and lessen the chance of having some part of the bike "high center" as it transitions from ramp to bed, but if they're not wide enough so you can stand alongside the bike as you're loading it, they make that last few feet of getting the bike in the back of the truck perilous. No matter the length or width, balance is critical...
More hands to support the weight is better.
But when time came to load the 820 pound 'Wing, I found myself in the same position as the guy in the video... all my neighbors were at work. It fell upon me to do it myself.
Unlike the guy in the video, I have a little common sense. Our driveway is elevated, so I backed the truck sideways against the (two feet higher) driveway to lessen that approach angle, then positioned and secured the ramp.
I'll save ya the suspense... I got it in there. But also like the guy in the video, once I got started I was terrified and learned something from the experience: I'll NEVER do it alone again. That's just stupid.
I was so worried about unloading the bike in Destin, we left it secured in the bed until the last day we were there. (This meant we hauled it around in the bed during two trips to Pensacola and our trip South to Cocoa Beach, a total of maybe 1,000 miles.)
Seventy-degrees and Sunny, on the morning of our last day I asked a neighbor for help and found a spot to unload similar to my loading situation up North... a two-foot raised area on which to situate my ramp.
Having another set of hands there made all the difference...
A part of the engine snagged on the frame at a critical moment, and if my neighbor had not been there to help me I'd have been in a fix... can't go down OR up. He held the bike while I man-handled it and got it unsnagged.
So now the 'Wing is in Destin, awaiting our return.
And that makes the idea of heading back South in two weeks even more inviting.