The "Big Blast" turned out to be more of a dull thud. There was a fair amount of wind which smashed the drizzling rain into my faceshield. Other than that the Weather Gods didn't put out much effort. I did see the guy on the 919 again. He has a pretty distinctively colored helmet. The helmet has a really long strap which blows behind him in the wind. This guy has a unique solution for long distance riding. His posture remains upright but he pulls his legs back and hooks the front of his ankles on the passenger pegs. My legs would be cramping but it seems to work for him. I've seem him do it for many miles.
I have to figure the guy is commuting. I've seen him on the trip down and last night on the trip up. It looks like he lives near Corvallis which is another eight miles farther West from me. Maybe I will get a chance to talk to him sometime. So the ride wasn't as troublesome as we were led to believe. I went to bed figuring this big blast was a tempest in a teapot.
That is, until I woke up this morning and looked outside. There was two inches of snow on the ground. Now it was decision time. The thermometer indicated it was 34 degrees (F). The street in front of the house looked more slushy than slippery. The people on the radio said it was worse farther South. I've found that these reports are slightly on the sensational side. With this in mind I decided to ride. It might be my last chance to enjoy this kind of contest.
I decided to take the VFR since it's a lighter bike. Looking at the ST and the VFR I felt more like I was choosing a victim. It was entirely possible that one of them would end up with war wounds. Actually, the CX500 would have been a good choice since it was sort of a "rat bike". We had recently sold it to the husband of one of Katie's co-workers. He used to ride and had taken our motorcycle safety class late last fall. They have several kids and only one rig. Mark really wanted to ride again and using the bike for commuting was the perfect sales pitch to his wife. He's happily ridden about four miles one way to work all winter.
Off we go. I've been riding the ST so much that the VFR feels slightly alien. Maybe not a good time to get re-aquainted but so be it. For the most part the roads are more messy than slick. The slush was melting from traffic and leaving big areas of standing water. Between them both it's really wet. So far so good. During a stretch of twenty miles or so there's nothing at all except wet road. I'm thinking we're done with it. Hang onto your hats buckaroos! The rodeo ain't over yet!
It really WAS worse down South. As I cross the big steel bridge the bike gets squirmy. There's a big white Ford 4 X 4 pickup spun out and smashed into a guardrail. Traffic is backed up a long ways behind it. The good news is that I am going opposite the backup. Several vehicles are in the ditches. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to ride today. For all my bravado I have to admit that I still get a knot in my stomach dealing with treacherous conditions. Careful is the word for this stretch. Interestingly, a rider can also get in trouble being too timid in these conditions. We do fine but have an intersting experience.
There are tracks in the snow where other cars have passed. I'm riding in the right side track to stay farther away from oncoming cars. On a sweeping corner the loose snow kind of takes charge of my path of travel. Now I'm out in the deeper stuff. I'm entering the curve and both ends of the bike are sliding. My first thought is "So that's what that feels like". I've watched top racers do this on a track. They call it "backing into a corner". I'm doing the same thing. Ok, ok, they do it on purpose. I just sort of slipped into it, if you know what I mean. At least I can say I've done it!
Now as I write this the sun is shining and most of the snow has melted. I'm teaching tonight about an hour North of here. We'll see what happens for the ride home. The snow here is supposed to be over. The mountain passes are getting totally hammered, though. As long as it doesn't freeze we'll be fine.
Maybe it's just as well winter is coming to an end. I can't resist a challenge. My big worry is that one day my spirit will over-ride my ability to pull it off. One day my body will fail to obey the commands from my heart.
Until then, Yee Haw!!!