Monday, October 21, 2013

According To Google Maps --

-- it's 7.2 miles by foot from my home to Catholic Social Services.

Google Maps says it's 37.9 miles to King's Used & Rare Books in Detroit. Which is an awesome store run by nice people, by the way.

265 miles to Toronto City Hall, 87 hours of walking. I don't think I've ever been to Toronto. Seems like I'd remember. When the CN Tower in downtown Toronto, over 1800 feet tall, was completed in 1976, I made a bet with my brother that I would ride a certain sort of Kawasaki Z1 from the US Midwest to the Tower by a certain time. I don't remember how much we bet. Ten bucks, maybe. maybe more. I don't remember whether I was betting that I would make the ride by my 18th birthday, or my 21st birthday, or when exactly. I turned 15 in 1976. Also, I don't remember whether I was betting that I would make the ride on any sort of Z1, or on a Z1 which had been modified in certain ways. I was very much interested in motorcycle road racing in those days. Which is not street racing. Road racing refers to races held on tracks which are paved, as opposed to dirt tracks, and which have many turns per lap, left and right and left and right, as opposed to ovals with left turns only. The Kawasaki Z1 was a 900cc 4-cylinder 4-stroke street bike, which at the time was just about the fastest street bike available in completely as-is stock from-the-dealer condition, and was also one of the leading models, perhaps the strongest overall, in Superbike road racing, which featured -- and I assume still does, although I'm not entirely sure -- motorcycles which began as stock mass-market street bikes, and which were pretty heavily modified, but still LOOKED very much like stock. Back in the mid-70's this meant that almost none of the Superbikes raced with fairings, that is, with the plastic aerodynamic coverings which were on all motorcycles built just for road racing back then, and on very few street bikes, and which are on all of the highest-performance street bikes today. So back then, Superbike road racing, which was still fairly new, looked much different than regular road racing, because of the absence of the aerodynamic streamlining.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I've never been to Toronto, and I've never owned any Z1, stock or modified.

It's 3808 miles driving, 66 hours of total driving time, to my Mom and Stepdad's place in Alaska. Google Maps said it was unable to calculate the walking distance. Let me try that one more time to make sure -- nope. Google Maps still sez "We could not calculate directions between[...]" It gave driving directions, but one very important thing it did not say is that, unless you're driving a pretty serious all-terrain vehicle, and maybe even then, you shouldn't attempt to drive from anywhere in the lower 48 to anywhere in Alaska except during a few relatively snow-free months of the year -- April to August, give or take, but check the forecast in advance. The only motor routes between Alaska and the lower 48 go through a lot of extremely mountainous terrain. In the cooler parts of the year, blizzards on the roads are guaran-Goddamn-teed, and a lot of snow and ice are possible any time of the year. This is not a journey for the faint of heart, the bald of tire or the ratty of engine.

Animals I have seen while driving through eastern Alaska, the Yukon and northern British Columbia include many moose and bears and buffalo, lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of caribou, bighorn sheep, bald eagles (I've only seen bald eagles in Canada, never yet in one of the 50 US states) and prairie dogs, who are awesomely cute little guys.

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