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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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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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Excellent deal on web hosting!

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Deals Gap – Saturday 10/2/2010

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Since this was my last full day here until next spring, I forced myself out of bed early and got underway to the overlook well before sunrise.  It was very cold and windy this morning, but there were several other bikes out before sunrise.  Robert eventually joined me at the Overlook getting one last ride in before he left for home.

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Robert, Keisha, and I had a sad breakfast together.  They were not ready to go home, but had no choice.  It seems that I am always the last one to leave, and every time somebody heads for home it is sad.  First to go was Dan, then Mark and his squid buddies, now Robert and Keisha.

i spent the day riding back and forth and hanging out with lots of different folks.  The place was absolutely packed.  As can be expected when you have a crowd that large, many had no clue about letting faster traffic by and parades of epic proportions were formed as a result.  Several lane crossers invaded my side of the road, but I managed to not hit any of them.

Towards evening there was a tragic accident when a well respected local lost the front end and went down hard.  He was flown out with a suspected broken back.

I still don’t know when I will leave tomorrow or where I will spend the night tomorrow.  I am just going to play it by ear and try to work around the weather.

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