A Sunday Morning Thearpy SessionA
Sunday Morning Therapy Session was originally published 10 March 2002. A lot
has changed since this was written. The Kings Highway Bridge no longer exists
as well as other changes. I don't have the little CBR anymore either; but, I
have continued to pursue my Sunday morning therapy sessions in the very same
places. Now-a-days at a much more subdued pace.
managed to slip off Sunday morning; no going to work, or working around the
house, no moving furniture. I wasn't going to do any of the things that had
been consuming my life; it was time for me to decompress from life's pressure
with some therapeutic riding time. I disappeared from the house before anyone
could make a demand for my attention or time. I intended to make it to
breakfast with a bunch of my riding friends over at Kristy's restaurant.
However my getting up late didn't allow that. I quickly rerouted myself and
headed off for a solo ride in the countryside.
The last time I was
able to ride "the little bike" (1990 Honda CBR 600 F3), I discovered it very
badly needed a new clutch, and some new tires.
Today was my first
chance to test the new chain, clutch and just scrubbed new Dunlop "Sportmaxs" I
just recently installed. I had been riding on the new tires commuting to and
from work for about two weeks; I figured they were ready now for a full test.
I rolled out of my neighborhood slowly and quietly so as not to
disturb none of my new neighbors. I couldn't help myself after I came to a stop
and turned right onto Harpersville Road I snapped the throttle revving the
engine up to about 7 or 8 grand on the tachometer and put the neighborhood
behind me rather fast.
Jefferson Ave was busy for a Sunday
morning, but the traffic was still light. I managed to get to the James River
Bridge without attracting the attention of Newport News' finest. I don't know
how. I was testing the new clutch's improved grab on just about every gear
Once past the bridge and on the causeway headed south
toward Carrollton and the rest of Isle Of Wight County I noticed my speed had
picked up to the 90 mark. The little 600 feels the same at 45 mph as it does at
90 mph only the wind rush in my helmet and the sound from the exhaust change.
The D&D performance exhaust gets louder the harder the little engine runs,
but most of this sound was drowned out by Aerosmith playing in my walkmans
I slowed down to the 55 as I came off the bridge causeway in
case one of the troopers or county police cars might be hanging around the old
tollbooth. Once on 17 and heading south a quick left on Brewers Neck Road and
then a left on Benns Church Blvd I made my way toward Chuckatuck.
After turning on to Benns Church Blvd I made a down quick shift and a little
more throttle; a zig and a zag got me around some offending slow traffic and
opened a clear road ahead. The tachometer needle kept a steady upward movement.
I looked down at the speedometer and was surprised to see the 105 mph mark
disappearing under the needle. Before I could react and slow down; a little old
lady in a big black American car blew past me as if I was standing still,
remember I was still doing 105
After granny blew past me I
slowed down to a more reasonable 65mph and continued on; although I was feeling
a bit humble now. I started out my little ride thinking how fast this little
motorcycle is, but granny has shown me the error in my thinking
slowed down to the double nickel down shifted and braked for a right hand turn,
putting me on the road which will take me to some of the best backcountry roads
to ride. I passed through a neighborhood of fairly new houses at 40 once again
trying not to disturb the neighborhood. After the neighborhood the road starts
to snake its way along. Turns, twists and switchbacks galore, I was in
I am still learning the feel of the little bike,
and I haven't been out on these roads for several months; keeping my speed down
was prudent as I made my way down Longview Drive (602) to Burnt Mills Lake.
I covered the distance from my turn to the lake in pretty quick time;
even with my subdued speeds. The grass areas around the launch ramp at Burnt
Mills were full of pickup trucks attached to empty boat trailers; it seemed
like everyone was fishing today except me. I made a mental note to dust off my
fishing tackle and do some fishing this summer.
Longview Drive (602)
turns into Kirk Road when you pass Quaker Road (654) rolling up to the last
intersection I turned right. Now on Everets Road (603) and headed westerly I
crossed over the bridge separating Burnt Mills from Western Branch Lake.
I noticed the spill way was running heavy as it always does at this
time of year. No shortage of water in Burnt Mills.
Up the hill and
left hand sweeping speed turn, which becomes a right hand sweeper, then the
road straightens out and comes to a tee intersection with Lake Prince Drive
(604); there are farm fields on all sides of the intersection giving you clear
visibility. A down shift and touch of front brake another down shift and then a
push in the left handle bar and I am headed down Lake Prince Drive toward the
lake the road is named for.
This road was widened, banking the new
road surface in the corners a few years ago. The immediate section in front of
me consisted of a good straight away then a drop down into a nice right hand
turn, a left and then another right. I down shifted to 5th gear, pushed the
right bar, slid over to the right on the seat and enjoyed the grip of the
Sportmaxs and the pull of the engine at 8 grand. Only fighter planes can match
the thrill of a good running sport bike.
An intersection comes up fast
and a populated area; I slow down to 45 mph and sit up with a big grin on my
face, oh how I love to ride this little bike.
After the houses the
road narrows and then crosses the lake after a quick right then a quick left
downhill banked turns. The little bike is laughing through the corners;
everything is running perfect. I run over the bridge separating the two halves
of Lake Prince and then slow for the uphill left right switchback turn which
leads into a blind entrance to the lake's launching area.
into the lake's launch area. It's time to stop and regroup a chance to absorb
the day, the lake and fresh air and most of all rein in my excitement. One of
my favorite trees are in bloom, the Dogwoods are exploding with their
snow-white flowers contrasting against early spring's still gray colors. At
this lake the lot is full of parked pickup trucks attached to empty boat
trailers, the parking area isn't completely full but it's far from empty.
Everyone is fishing on this sunny day.
With no one to talk to, the
stop is short, one cigarette and I am off again. I make mental note never to
leave home with just one tape for my Walkman. Pulling out of the launch area
and out the gate, I turn right and head south on Lake Prince Dr.
have never taken the little bikes' engine to redline, so I figure this is as
good a place to try it. The road is straight for a mile or so with no cross
streets or homes just forests on both sides. A smooth quick shift out of first,
throttle snapped wide open in second gear to redline, another quick shift into
third and to my surprise I feel my arms take a small jolt, the front wheel is
airborne. The little bike carries it's front wheel for about a hundred yards
before I roll off just enough throttle to set the little bike's front wheel
back down; then stab the shift lever down with my toe twice and brake for the
A hard left gets me on Girl Scout Road (633). The little
bike accelerates quickly all the way to the next bend. Now you have to have big
steelies (balls of steel), the road surface is rough very rough and it tests
the bikes suspension. The little bike is eating it up and I don't feel out of
control as I have on my other bikes. Still my speed and the rough road induce
some unsettling real wheel hop in that first bend. In mid corner I can feel the
rear wheel stepping out sideways. Coming out of the bend I ease off the
throttle a little to lose some of the speed and once again the little bike
I passed the Girl Scout camp, then down the hill past
the pumping station being careful to avoid the bump, which doesn't happen. The
little bike absorbed the bump with a good bounce but settled down quickly
allowing us to make the left turn which will carry us across the spill way. I
let the bike slow down. I have Lake Prince to my left and Western Branch on my
right, I didn't see anyone fishing. They must all be working the shallow wind
The entrance to Western Branch Lake is coming up on
my right and I can see the sand spilling on to the roadway from the lakes'
access road. I pass the access road entrance and turn left and up the hill, I
slow down for the bicycle riders giving them plenty of room. Once I'm in front
of them it's a quick downshift and wide-open throttle to red line again, this
time there's no wheelie, but it's an E ticket in anyone's park. Girl Scout road
joins Milners road and carries you past farms and churches.
bike and I complete a very fast right hand turn and then it's hard on the
brakes for the stop sign. I wait for two pickup trucks to pass by and make a
right. I am now back on Lake Prince Drive headed north, back the way I came. I
slow down to let the trucks get well ahead of me but by the time I finish
enjoying the next two switch back turns I close up on them once again.
Both trucks turn left and I go right back on Everets road. The exhaust sound
coming from the little bike is a scream as engine rpms reach the 10,000 mark,
accelerating the bike ahead in blur of sight and sound. I up shift and set up
for the next series of switchback turns; downhill once again and across the
bridge. My speed settles down and I pass by two young men standing out front of
Owens Market; they stop their conversation and watch me go by at 105.
I slow down to the posted 45 mph and pass the church keeping the exhaust song
from intruding on the service. I come to Godwin blvd which is Benns Church Blvd
renamed after it passes through Chuckatuck. I head back toward downtown
Chuckatuk I bear right at the intersection and head off on Kings Highway.
An old slow moving, oil-burning pickup truck is in front of me and he
turns right as I do. We creep through the 35-mph zone at 25, past the firehouse
and into right hand turn, which is almost a complete circle. The road opens
into a short straightaway. The white lines break into a passing zone, I down
shift twice, open the throttle and pull out of the pickup truck's blue cloud of
burning oil exhaust smoke and get around the pickup. Once again I'm enjoying
clean air and open road. The old pickup truck very quickly disappears in my
mirrors, a few more switchback turns and the bridge will be in sight...
I pass two motorcycles headed the other way on the bridge. Harleys,
the riders surprised me with a wave, and I hurriedly wave back as we cross over
the bridge and head off on our similar adventures.
I set up for the
slow sweeping left hand turn, down shift and push the left bar, the little bike
leans over at will without effort, I find myself sliding on the seat to get my
knee bent and I'm leaned over in the turn.
Coming out of the turn I up
shift with the engine at 8,000 rpms the engine sings and the bike settles in at
80 mph. I slow down for a residential area, cross over the intersection and
enter the straightaway. This section is arrow straight and is bordered on both
sides by swamp. Twisting the throttle full open and tucking in, the little
bike's exhaust note is a scream. I look down and the speedometer is indicating
135 mph. Amazingly the little bike feels the same as it did at 90. I roll off
throttle and touch the brake lever with a little pressure on the rear brake to
scrub off the little bikes speed and bring it to a stop at the light.
The brakes on this bike are awesome.
Under my full-face helmet my
cheeks are pressing hard on the helmet liner, no one could have a grin this
Now I pick up traffic, I fall in and cruise on to 17 and then on
to 664 and head toward my sister's new house to help move the new fridge and
washing machine. Once there I can't stand still, my adrenalin is up and I want
to keep on riding, the fun is back.
I get home with 70 miles on the
fresh tank of gas. Rolling into the barn and parking I make some mental notes
for next time. I have to learn to down shift more, the little bike seems to
pull no matter what gear it's in. But to exit the corners quicker I have to
carry more speed, I have to move around in the saddle more to get in corners
deeper, but then, I was still happy it ran well and all the repaired parts
worked perfectly. It would have been nice to share the ride with someone, but
then I just did
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