Monday, December 24, 2007

Home for the Holidays, and the 10K mark

While my wife and I are effectively boycotting the holidays by heading to Vegas on Christmas morning, I felt like I should at least visit my parents for an evening before we left. Being a bit sick in the head, I took the motorcycle out there and back. I knew going into this that it would be 40-45 degrees on my ride there, and 50-55 with torrential rain and 25mph winds on the way back. But, since days off for bad weather won't be much of an option during my trip to Nova Scotia, I headed out anyway.

The trip out was pretty uneventful. I hit the road at 4pm, so most of the ride was in the dark. The first thing to start feeling a little numb was actually my head. Since I didn't have much luck keeping my first anti-fogging visor insert attached, and haven't taken the time to try again with the replacement I bought, I have to keep the visor cracked when it's damp out if I don't want a layer of fog in front of my eyes. As a result, I have to suffer through wind swirling around the top of my head. Fortunately, as evidenced by the fact that I left the house in this weather for a 4 hour ride, I'm not the brightest bulb. So there probably isn't
actually enough blood flow to my head to worry too much about heat loss.

The next thing to start feeling the cold was my legs and my feet. This was the point where "I wonder if Widder makes heated pants to go with my vest?" started popping into my head. Thankfully, less than an hour later, I had reached my parent's farm, and it was time for a hot meal and gift swapping.

On Sunday, things got more interesting. The sky had already opened up, so I was thankful that I was able to pack my hard luggage inside, and then just walk it out to the bike. In addition to my Rev'it Cayenne jacket and Dakar pants, which actually did quite well at keeping me dry through light sprinkles on the trip up, I was wearing my BMW Rainlock Weather Suit. I was also wearing my Rev'it Fahrenheit Gloves (last years gauntlet model, not the current ones) and my Rev'it Atlas H2O waterproof balaclava.

The ride home started with a couple spin-outs in the mud and grass before I finally made my way to the gravel driveway. A little later, I laid the bike down at an intersection in Pamplin City. I foolishly assumed that a truck with it's right blinker on was getting ready to turn onto the road I was leaving, instead of into the gas station to my right. I started moving, and stopped about a foot later. But that one foot traveled was enough to leave me with nowhere to put my right foot. Fortunately, I know the correct way to pick up a bike. So, despite the fact that my bike was loaded up, and the slope was working against me, I had it up in a moment and was right back on the road.

The bulk of my trip was spent leaning about 10 degrees to the right just to maintain a straight line. I managed to get ahead of the heavy rain once I crossed back over I-95, but the wind never really let up the entire time. The final notable event on my ride was when I hit the 10,000 mile mark on my odometer right as I was leaving Suffolk (the "C" location on the google map).

I am happy to say that, aside from a little perspiration, I was dry as a bone once I got home. I already knew my BMW rain gear did a good job. But I was happy to finally own a pair of gloves that fared as well. The Rev'it Hydratex lining definitely did a better job than the Held Ice Breakers I had used on my trip to New Hampshire. As an added plus, the Rev'its were more comfortable and I could actually work the buttons on my gps with them. I think I'm almost done getting myself geared for cold weather riding. Once I find some way to keep my legs as warm as my torso, there shouldn't be anything left.

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