Ride Log - July 5th, 2014: Kankakee River State Park


This past weekend I had a chance to do a nice quick ride down Route 113 near Kankakee. There is a nice thirteen mile stretch along the south side of the Kankakee River through the state park down there. If anyone is in that area, it is worth hitting up this little stretch for a pleasant ride. Unfortunately it seems like the "New Google Maps" is terrible for trying to load GPS data into it. I'll put that in another post, but in the mean time enjoy this quick video of the ride. 

Ride Log - June 1st, 2014: Koval Distillery

Today was literally the worst ride I have ever ridden. I had a tour over at Koval Distillery in Chicago today so Megan and I took the bike over to that. I figured it would be fun to drive through some of the Chicago neighborhoods and the lake on the way to the distillery. It was a miserable experience. The traffic on I-55 in both directions was crawling. What should have been a 50 minute ride each way turned into a 90+ minute ride each way. It was hot and miserable. I have never been so uncomfortable on the bike before and it didn't help that I had a passenger that was also hot. 

The tour of the distillery itself was cool. It lasted only about 35-40 minutes, but it was interesting to see how whisky is made. I was surprised at actually how small the distillery was. There was a back portion that we didn't get to see, but the building was fairly small. Overall it was a fund trip and made me appreciate Whisky and the Koval brand more. I came away really enjoying the millet whisky that they make. The Bourbon had a really creamy flavor to it as well. If you find yourself in the area, definitely check out the tour there. 

http://www.koval-distillery.com/newsite/classes-tours

May 2014 Video Gaming

This spring so far has been a pretty fun time for video games. It has been my sort of go to stress relief after I come home from work. I have been playing quite a bit of Titanfall since its launch back in March. The game is basically just Call of Duty, but the formula still works and it remains fun to jump in and play and hour or two. There has been quite a bit of complaints from some people online about the value of the game for online only. I never quite understood the issues with those arguments. People spend $60 on COD all the time without touching the single player at all. A new map pack is coming out in a couple of weeks that I am looking forward to play. 

I also picked up Super Mario 3D World a few weeks ago for the Wii. That is a gorgeous looking game and if anyone had an qualms about the Wii U producing some good looking games, just look to the Nintendo products for it. It is your standard Mario game in many respects and has all the fun you expect there. I have liked playing it in short bursts of 30-45 minutes, which seems to get me through 2-3 levels before I hit a road block. If you are trying to be a completionist and collect all the stars, the game can be quite challenging.  Mario Kart 8 is coming out at the end of this month and I am really looking forward to that. All of the video and screenshots that have been coming out so far make the game look quite phenomenal. 

I have also been slowing still chipping away at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning on my Xbox 360. That is another really pretty game, and it fills my sort of mindless RPG niche at the moment. I wouldn't say that it is a great game by any stretch, but the fight mechanics are solid enough to keep me going and the world is just too pretty not to look at. I thing that drags the game down a bit for me is all of the sidequests, which all come across as a bit meaningless. They all feel like sidequests from an MMO and they are extremely numerous. Overall it is worth playing if anyone comes across it. 

A New Rear Rack for the Motorcycle

So this summer I hope to get Megan on the back of the motorcycle and do some trips. Part of this involves here getting some gear, but it also has involved her having some sort of "backrest" for the back of the bike to lean against. My bike doesn't have a ton of options for this, but after doing quite a bit of research this winter I opted to go with the Givi system. It was cheaper than the BMW system (and the case looks better) and it didn't involve me purchasing an entire new seat for the bike. 

After getting the rear rack on the bike, I am not thrilled with how it looks, but it looks fine. It just detracts from the minimalism that I like on the bike. The Givi gear seems to be really well built. I just feel that the top plate they have is a bit thick and it unfortunately does not have any utility for strapping gear down when the case isn't on the bike. I may look into trying to fabricate a replacement aluminum plate which could be thinner, but we will see. Again, it doesn't look horrible. 

I can't deny the utility of the top case though. I used it riding to work last week and the 47l case can hold quite a lot. 

March 2014 Reading List

Despite everything that has been going on lately, I have still been reading some books. The most notable of the books I have recently read have both been graphic novels. I read The Sandman: Dream Hunterswhich is a wonderful novel in the Sandman universe. It is apparently volume #11 in this series, so I will have to go back and read the other novels. The book had a wonderful fairy tale sort of feel to it. 

I also read a book call Kabuki, Vol 1: Circle of Blood. This is a pretty adult graphic novel that follows a group of assassins  who are modeled after these TV personalities. It is a bit hard to describe from that angle, but really just picture a dystopian future where a shadow organization is trying to control the world around it. 

Jumping back over to novels I read an excellent indie novel called Bypass Gemini  which was written by Joe Lallo. I picked this book up as part of the Storybundle way back when. The book was a very pleasant surprise and was an excellent fun, light sci-fi read.