Ingress: A new reason to ride your motorcycle

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How great would it be if you could combine a video game with riding your motorcycle?  Now you can!

Ingress is a Android game from Google.  It is called a augmented reality game because the game board is the real world.  There are two sides, the Enlightened and the Resistance.  There are portals scattered all over the world.  You join a side, go to a portal, and claim it as yours.  Once you have three portals under your teams control you link them together to form a control field covering that portion of the planet.  The goal of the game is to cover the entire planet with your teams control fields.

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A portal with a control field

What this means is to play the game you have to get out of the house and go places, and what better way to go places than on a motorcycle!

Map showing a portal in the distance and scattered XM.

Map showing a portal in the distance and scattered XM.

Initially the portals are unclaimed.  Portals can be found at fire stations, post offices, museums, and other interesting features.  When you find a unclaimed portal you install resonators on that portal to claim it for your team.  A portal has to have 8 resonators installed on it before it can be linked to other portals.  There are multiple levels of resonators and the more high level resonators a portal has the further it can link to other portals.  A portal with 8 level 1 resonators can only link to another portal withing a tenth of a mile away, but a portal with 8 level 8 resonators can link to a portal as far away as 407 miles!  Keep in mind you must also have a key to the portal to link it.

A portal with 8 resonators attached.

A portal with 8 resonators attached.

 

How do you get resonators and keys?  By hacking portals!  When you get within range of a portal you can hack it to get resonators, keys, media, shields, and Xmp bursters.  Hacking a unclaimed portal usually gives low level items.  Hacking a enemy portal rarely gives many items, but hacking a friendly portal yields the most items and the higher the level of the portal the more powerful the items are. You will also randomly get a key to any portal you hack.

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Shields are useful to protect your portals from enemy attack.  Xmp bursters are needed to attack enemy portals.  Xmp bursters drain energy from resonators and once a resonator looses all its power it is destroyed.  Once all 8 resonators are destroyed the portal becomes unclaimed and you can put your own resonators on it to claim it for your team.

A portal protected by a shield.

A portal protected by a shield.

Resonators loose energy over time.  They loose about 10% of their energy every day.  If left alone your portal will eventually decay and run out of power and revert to a unclaimed status.  You must keep your portals powered up by recharging them.  You recharge them with XM energy.  XM energy is scattered and floating all around, but seems to be mostly concentrated around portals and shopping centers or other highly populated areas.

You score points for many of the things you do .  Placing a resonators gives you 125 points.  Placing the eighth resonator gives you 250 points.  Linking two portals gives 313 points and creating a control field between three portals earns you 1250 points.  Before you can use a level 2 resonator or Xmp burster you must be a level 2 player and your level is determined by the number of points you have.  You have to accumulate 10,000 points to get to level 2.

The game is very addicting and once the weather warms up it will be a lot of fun to combine with motorcycle riding.  Unfortunately, the game is in closed beta right now and that means you must have a invitation to play at this time.  You can add your name to the list by going to this link:  http://www.ingress.com/

 

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The Blue Ridge Parkway and Adventure Riders

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Yesterday we rode from home to near Fancy Gap, Virginia.  It was a pretty uneventful ride, so that is all I have to say about it.

Today the real fun started.  We spent the day riding the parkway from Fancy Gap to Asheville.  I’ve already posted plenty of parkway pictures, so I’m not even going to bother this time.  The mountains are hundreds of millions years old, they have not changed much since last year.

Right now the Rhododendron are blooming so I took a picture.

My favorite spot on the parkway is Mt. Mitchell.  We enjoyed the sights there, and then enjoyed a delicious trout.

I really do love riding the parkway.  It really is the most pleasant and visually spectacular ride you can take on a motorcycle.  If I rode it 1,000 times I would still love it.

What I am not loving is all these “Adventure Riders” I am seeing out there.  Now I know that I ride an adventure bike myself, but I am not trying to convince anybody that I am an adventure rider.  I know some real adventure riders.  They are not like normal people.  They are hard core.

The adventure riders I am seeing everywhere are fakes.  Pretenders.  They ride around with gas cans strapped to their bikes.  They have all kinds of crap that the internet told them they needed bolted to their bikes.  They ride around standing on their foot pegs because they saw Ewan McGregor do it.  Their bikes and gear is spotless and shiny.  Nothing is scratched, their adventure clothes look like they were purchased that morning.  They smell like they showered very recently, and their hair is perfect.  Their odometers only need four digits.

Now I know most 0f these guys, if they read this, are going to get all upset and send me nasty emails.  They are gonna tell me how hard core they are, but I’m not going to believe it.  Real adventure riders would not give a flying crap what a clown like me thinks of them, so if you are reading this and getting pissed off you can consider yourself a pretender!

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Deals Gap Memorial Day – Getting Ready

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What a nightmare getting ready for this trip has been.

In addition to all the usual stuff, I needed to replace my chain and sprockets and my back tire. The tire was in stock at my local dealer, but I needed to order the chain kit. I ordered it from the great folks at Dual Sport Touring. Trouble struck when I found out the chain kits were on backorder. Francois
told me he would get it to me in time, but I was worried. True to his word, the kit, along with the rivit tool I needed, was scheduled to be delivered on Tuesday, plenty early for a Friday morning departure.

I took the back wheel off Monday night and took it to work with me on Tuesday. On the way home from work I stopped at my dealer to get the tire mounted. Junior looked me straight in the eye and said he could mount it on Thursday. i told him I had made arrangements to have this done on Tuesday, but he said nobody told him that. We were at a standoff. In the end, he thought the wheel was on the bike and when he found out I had the wheel in hand we were good to go!

I had a message that MG wanted me to call him, so while junior mounted the tire I called MG. Originally, my reservation started on Sunday, but they had a cancellation so I changed my first night to Saturday. When I called MG they said it was a mistake, there was no Saturday cancellation so I had no room until Sunday. They felt really bad about it, but I can’t really complain because they have gone out of there way for me so many times in the past, so I figured i would just change my plans a bit.

With the tire on the wheel, I headed out to the garage to get the project started. I got as much as I could get done without the parts and tools, and at that exact moment UPS pulled up and blew the horn. He brought the box straight to the garage and I quickly checked it – everything was there, and they appeared to be the right parts! I got the sprockets on and opened up the tool to rivit the chain. There are two pins included, one to break the chain and one to rivit the chain. I could not tell the difference between the two. They looked exactly the same. The reason they looked the same is because they were the same! Screwed again! Now I was in a real jam, with just two days to get things going. I called Motion Pro, and with a little begging on my part, they agreed to send me a pin next day air, but it would not ship until Wednesday. That means Thursday night delivery, with a Friday morning departure!

i racked my brain trying to figure out where I could get a pin or a tool. My closest option was my buddy Dave, but he lives about 100 miles away. Eventually, I remembered that Mark had a tool, so I called him crying like a little girl. Not only did he have one, but he said he would head out right away and deliver it to me! I told him I don’t expect him to go out of his way like that, so I jumped in the xcar and picked it up.

The tool worked great, and I got everything back together for a midnight test ride. Everything was good, and my heart returned to its normal rate. Francois, Motion Pro, Gollans, and Mark all came through for me and everything is a go! I turned the room cancellation into a plus by changing my route to the Blue Ridge Parkway, my favorite ride in the world. The only downside is I will miss the 50 racing at the Gap Saturday night, but all in all the beginning of my trip should be even more fun than I had originally planned! I hope I have all the problems and bad luck out of the way now, so all I have to do is have fun for the next 11 days!

Category: Deals Gap

Welcome to the 2011 riding season!

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I’ll be the first to admit it.  I was pretty lazy last year.  I did not give the site very much attention last year, but I promise to do better this year.

There are some changes this year.  For one, not all of my adventures are going to be on two wheels.  We have adopted a convertible that will allow me to extend my season a bit.  It will give me a few more months of adventure each year, and has already made a trip to Atlantic City.  The really cool part is the car has a hard top, so with the top up it is just like a regular car, but when you press a button the top disappears!

Atlantic City was a great time!  It was cold and rainy most of the time, but that did not matter much because there was lots to do indoors!  Atlantic City seems pretty comfortable with public intoxication, so I got along pretty well there.

Foggy view from my room

 

So basically what I found out is that I enjoy drinking and gambling.  We stayed at the Trump Plaza, and Trump seems to hate me, but I got along well with his people.  They kept taking my money but they seemed to feel bad about it.  I don’t blame them, they were not taking my money, they were giving most of it to Trump.  I never found one single person who had ever met Trump before.  Not even anyone who has been in the same room with him.  Trump needs to come back to the ground floor once in a while to meet his people.

 

Trump also seems pretty fascinated with himself.  Everything said Trump.  Trump this, Trump that.  Trump, Trump, Trump.  The guy must really love himself.  I doubt he would be interested in staying in one of his rooms.  The room was too warm, had too little light, one light did not even work, and it looked like it was decorated by a prostitute from the 60’s.

The Boardwalk entrance

There are people on the Boardwalk who push carts that you can ride in.  I never rode in one, but I did have the pleasure of seeing a very drunken cart pusher abandon his card and rider.  He shouted some obscenities and stumbled into the casino.  Eventually, the cops showed up asking whose cart it was.  One of his buddies covered for him and said it was his and pused it up the Boardwalk.  The drunk guy came  out of the casino and saw this, then started screaming at him and went running/stumbling aftewr him.  This resulted in another large group of cops appearing, but I could not stay for the whole show because I was very cold and needed a vodka refill.

A typical Atlantic City cart

We also made a stop at Pats King of Steaks in Philadelphia to see what all that fuss was about.  There was a really long line, but it moved very fast due to their strict rules, and it was very tasty.

Proof we were actually there

The line goes around the building, but it moves very fast!

The Rules

The object of our desire.

This weekend I will be making my first trip to the Gap, so I am really looking forward to that!  There will be Fiddy racing, pancakes, MotoGP, and who knows what else!

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