The Water's HOW Deep?
I'm inserting this post in here out of sequence. The second half of the last post will have to wait. Weather conditions have changed and I've got to get this one in while it's still hot. Or, should I say, wet?
The last two days have brought record rainfall. Our area received a little over six inches of rain in 48 hours. The weather guy said the storm was stuck over us and dumping like crazy. He likened it to being at the end of fire hose. I agree. It totally looked and felt like it. Of course, who do you think was out in it on two wheels?
Yesterday morning I had coffee with Dean. I'd been staring at the laptop for two days and was going crazy. I had to get out and Dean was glad to oblige. We arranged to meet at a place called the Governor's Cup Roasters in Salem. I'm actually not a coffee snob. I start with Starbucks in a town because it's a place I know I will find a consistent product. Then I branch out from there as opportunity allows.
On the other hand, it does seem like a lot of my life takes place either over a cup of coffee or going to or from coffee shops.
Anyway, the destination is about a thirty five minute ride for me. I was running a bit early so decided to head up the South end of Salem, getting off the freeway early. The freeway itself had a lot of standing water but I simply slotted in behind a big truck and rode its tire tracks at a safe distance.
As I rolled into Salem I should have recognized the evil omen. There's a housing project built around a golf course. The golf course is called Battle Creek. Key word Creek. I saw a school bus that had gone through some high water and ended up in a ditch and slanted at a 45 degree angle. The road I was riding was ok so I didn't think anything of it. My plan was to angle off at 12th street and go up over the hill. My oldest son lives close to this street. From the road I can see the back of the apartment complex where he lives. I knew he would be at work but there's still that connection. You know what I mean? Farther along is the BMW / Honda shop where I bought Sophie at the turn of the century. The shop is nothing as good these days as it was then, but it's still a motorcycle establishment.
Thus committed, I rolled up 12th towards Madrona at the top of the hill. I was somewhat surprised to see traffic backed up this far. It was about 8:15 AM and I thought rush hour would be done. Maybe it's the state workers who start at nine, I mused. As I crested the top of the hill and looked down the other side I was taken aback by the sight.
It looked like some evil cloning machine had been working overtime spitting out Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer copies. There was nothing but a line of red lights ahead of me as far as I could see. I patiently worked the clutch and crept along, figuring that it would clear up as the single lane split into two later on. No such luck. Now there was the added complication of deep water on both sides of the street. I noticed that several side streets were mostly flooded. Which meant I sort of got funneled ( pun intended ) along with the flow of traffic.
The water covered more and more of the street. Traffic started to fan out into two lanes running pretty close together. Up ahead, for the next eight blocks or so, the water covered the entire street and traffic went single file down the middle. There was no graceful way out for me as the side streets were flooded, too. So I did what any insane Road Warrior would do. I rode through the deep water following the cars and hoping for the best.
It's time for the "Don't try this at home!" warning. If you asked me I would tell you this was not a good idea. Fast moving water moves big stuff, etc., etc.. Yet, here I was. Not on a dual sport but Elvira was willing to play the part. There's another problem that you probably haven't thought of, yet. Or maybe you have and thus have beaten me to the punch.
Riding through deep water is one thing. Doing it in stop and go traffic is another. Think about it. When you have to put your foot down, where are you going to do it? That's right. In a foot of water. I am proud to say that I did not have to take my foot off the peg. Between a pretty decent balancing act with my eyes up and clutch slipping, and ticking off a couple of drivers who didn't understand why I was waiting for more space to open up ahead of me, things worked out. On the other hand, the rain falling from the sky soaked me anyway so I really wondered why I bothered with the effort.
So here are some photos. I've included the obligatory establishing shots. As in: See, I was really there!
Please note the photo of the back of the young man. He was moving bags of sand from a pickup to the front door of his place of employment, The water was that high!
Miles and smiles,