Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Close, but not quite.....

The dense fog advisory was back this morning but the temperature had climbed clear up to 35 degrees. It was actually quite peaceful this morning. No crazy drivers, no ice, no worries. Just me and the fog. Despite the "dense fog" warnings, visibility wasn't bad. Not like yesterday when I had ice forming on my visor and windshield as the wind chill turned the fog solid on any flat surface it could find.

I actually started worrying that I would have nothing to write about. Who wants to read "Nice ride down and nice ride back"? Nice, but boring. On the other hand, I am hoping that you all aren't hoping bad things happen to me just for your entertainment! You will be glad to know that things started getting interesting when it was time to come back to town. There are a couple things to report and I am still uninjured.

Had to take an update class tonite to keep my teaching certification. The class was scheduled to start promptly at 6 PM at a local community college. I guess for you to fully understand the circumstances you should know that the sun came out around noon. It was one of those afternoons that you know you won't see again for a while. Having about a fifty minute commute to the class I decided to leave the office early and do a little extra riding on the way up. So around 4 I gear up and go. This was the perfect chance to go see if my twisty back roads missed me. Off we went North. About 5 miles down the road I crossed the river and rode right into a blanket of heavy fog. But wait, wasn't it getting thinner farther up where I could see? Oh, by the way, I had my Ray Ban photo-chromatic shades on. You know, the kind that are supposed to lighten and darken depending on ambient lighting. They actually work well for the times when the sun is not blasting down but you want some tinting going on.

Having what my wife calls a "deep stubborn streak" I pressed on. Since I was already committed we went for it. Isn't it amazing how disoriented you get in thick fog? All the landmarks you depend on for navigation and corner entrances are gone. On top of that, I really didn't want to stop on the side of the road and take off my sunglasses. I made the call that keeping them on was less of a hazard than becoming a "sitting duck" on the side of the road. I did eventually make it back to civilization and found a place to take off the glasses. Suffice it to say, there were a large number of instances when I was tightly clenching the muscles on the back of my front side. I am convinced that if the situation called for it, I could walk across the room sitting down and propelling myself by clenching the muscles in my butt. I know, not a pretty picture but you never know when the skill will be critical for survival.

We made it to class on time with only one close call with an old lady in a Nissan who was pulled off the side of Hwy 99 and decided I was a target and not an obstacle to be avoided. Since I had already spotted her, no harm, no foul when she pulled back onto the road in front of me. I am sorry to say that I sort of "lit up her life" with the high beam for a short while. By now it was pretty dark and the high beam showed up pretty well.

I do want to sort of interject a request. Perhaps we could start a quiet push for a new grass roots movement. Have you seen those bumper stickers that say "Visualize World Peace"? That is certainly a noble goal and one, that having been achieved, would greatly alleviate suffering among mankind. It is also a very large goal that could perhaps best be accomplished in small steps. Achieving world peace will take good communication among people, agreed? Let's start working on communication in smaller matters and working our way up. I propose that we distribute bumper stickers that say "Visualize Using Turn Signals".

It totally blows me away how many people do not seem to even know they have them. It's hard enough dealing with traffic on a bike without having to second guess everyone. Are people just arrogant and think they are too good to communicate with "mere mortals"? Are they just too lazy? Is it because people's ability to multitask is already in serious jeopardy just by driving and using turn signals would overload them? Do drivers fail to plan ahead any more than a few seconds? I would love to have the answer and then work on a cure. Perhaps we could have a telethon.

The State Police had a campaign a while ago. It urged drivers to use their signals. They said "It's not hard. Down for left, up for right."

Any interest or suggestions?

P.S. The old lady in the Nissan was using her turn signal. At least she gave me fair notice that
she was going for me!

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