September 08, 2013
Riding in the Rain
Coming home from the Cape, I had a dry ride all the way thru MA (did hit wet roads though) then when I got to the NH rest area, the skies let loose. I waited out the first bout of rain, took off, and about 2 miles down the raod ran into another deluge.
Even the cars ahead of me slowed down to 45 MPH (on the highway, where we had been going 75-80) and put on their flashers. It even hailed a little (teeny, tiny hail). The most amazing thins is that other drivers were extremely curteous and kind to this biker - they stayed well back from me, if they passed, they did so at the far left side of their lane and pulled well ahead before pulling in front of me. I am so used to other drivers trying to kill me (hey, that's the way you have to ride) that I was almost stunned by the change in driver behafiour.
I did finally hit drier air and made it home safely.
The time with SIL was exactly what I needed. even though it was cool, dark and damp, we had a great time. We did a lot of walking, window shopping (and a bit of clothes shopping), eating (ice cream - lots of ice cream), and working out. The time share had a great gym so we could work off a few of the calories we injested. We also played a round of mini golf (I need lessons from HH because I lost badly).
even with the weather, we had a great time and I really appreciated being able to get away and forget everything for a while. Even the ride in the rain was good!
August 31, 2013
WS left Thursday morning on the bike - heading for Kansas and his family reunion. That night he spent the night in PA. Last night he had made it to St. Louis for the night. Should make it to the Kansas clan and shindig today.
I am heading out with SIL (she driving and me riding) and we are headed for The Cape. She was gracious enough to invite me for a little fun, sun, relaxation (and forgetting that today is technically WS and my 28th anniversary) - and just plain time away from everything at a time share she has for the week. Work has been a bear too, so I really need this outing. It is only for the weekend (for me), but I will try to make the most of it.
So, no more posting this weekend - I'll catch you on the flip side.
May 26, 2013
Some New States
Ws left Wednesday morning, with a bunch of his buddies, headed to DC. The participte in the Run to the Wall almost every year, and this year WS really needed some time off. He won't be back until Tuesday.
I took a couple of days off of work myself. Like last year, I planned a solo, overnight trip on the bike leaving Friday and coming back on Saturday. I almost cancelled because of the forcast; rainy and in the 50's Friday, rainy and in the 40's on Saturday - even down south where I was planning to ride. Thursday night I was bummed, figuring I wouldn't go. Friday I woke up with a different mindset and set out for a couple of states that I haven't ridden in before; Rhode Island and Connecticut.
HOG (Harley Owners Group) makes it easy to have a destination if you are going for a ride. They put out a book of state maps with all the Harley dealers pinpointed. Those of us like me that have no set agenda, but want to ride somewhere, can pick a Harley dealer in the area we are interested in and immediatly have a destination for our ride.
I didn't want to deal with all the crowds ezpected for the holiday weekend on the coast, but was in luck because Ocean State Harley has a shop in Exeter, RI that is away from the hustle and bustle of the beach. I road thru rain all the way there, but it was warmish, so no big deal. I stayed on surface roads, so avoided the major road spray from fast moving traffic on the highway. With just one 45 minute detour, missing a road that I should have taken, I arrived at my destination in Exeter.
It felt strange as I was the only bike in the parking lot and the building didn't have any signs on it, but I had found the right place. After perusing the shirts (and buying one), I bid fairwell to the nice folk at Ocean State Harley. I sat on their porch to re-affirm my route to my destination in CT before heading on my way.
It seemed the rain ended about the time I entered Connecticut. It stayed dry until I reached my next destination, TSI Harley in Ellington. Once again I was the only bike in the parking lot, but at least the building was well marked so I knew I had the right place.
Once again I perused the merchandise, selecting a long sleeved t-shirt. The folk were friendly, as expected. As I started backing my bike out, it started misting. One of the service guys came out to do something, looked at me, held out his hand to feel the mist and raised his eyebrows. I yelled that I had started out in the rain, so it didn't really matter at this point.
I stayed the night at a Holiday Inn in Vernon, CT. that night the rain came down in earnest and it continued throughout the next day. I had semi-planned to head to a Harley dealer in Bristol CT (and meeting up with another lady rider that I knwo from NY) before heading home. But since the other rider was staying home, and the worst of the rain was directly overhead Bristol (and was stying there, naturally), I decided just to head on home. It wasn't only supposed to be rainy, but the high in CT was only to be 49 - not as high a temp was forcast for further north - I was glad I had the foresight to pack long underwear anyway.
I had in mind another Harley shop that I could visit in MA, with a slight 10 mile detour. But, decided not to since I was chilled thru the ride and it was still raining. Although I was dry (rain gear and leathers are great), I just wanted to get home where I could warm up. Plus I knew that the rain could intensify at any time and the ponding on the roads was already enough to make me careful and watchful for areas that I needed to avoid.
Once I hit RindgeNH, I stopped at a DD for a cup of coffee. I needed a break, anyway and decided that would be just the ticket.
I got home early afternoon safe and sound, got all unpacked and headed into the house. The inside temp was 64, so I turned on the heater. The temp outside was 46 - the warmest outside temp I saw all day.
I got to color in two more states on my vest patch and had a good time. I never thought about work (which I really needed after the massive hours I have put in for the last 4 months or so). And, I couldn't help wondering what all the people that saw me on the road thought. After all, I only saw 3 bikes and 2 scooters during my travels. Did they think I was crazy? Did they think I was dedicated. Did they think I had no choice? Me, I just though, yeah, I'm a BABC QOTR.*
* No, you won't know what that means, but all my sisters over at the HDForums Lady Rider section know exactly what that is.
July 15, 2012
On my vest, there is a patch of the United States (and a bit of Canada). Up until our trip to Indiana, I have only been able to color in 5 states; Maine, NH, MA, Vermont and NY. The patch almost looked like it was bare.
That is how many miles we road in 6 days. Technically, we rode those miles in 4.5 days as from 6 PM Friday until noon on Sunday, the bikes didn’t move an inch.
We left early Thursday morning and took Rt 9 thru NH and Vermont. In NY we picked up Rt 7 – a big mistake. Nice road and all, but slow, slow, slow. After a couple hours on that road, we had made very little progress so we hopped onto US 88 which took us to Pennsylvania. There we got on Rt 6. Another mistake. Although faster than Rt 7 had been, it was still slow and we needed to pick up the pace. So, we did what we were hoping to avoid and hit the big highway and took that to Du Bois, PA where we spent the night. The next morning we hit the highway and rode all the way to Sturgis. The whole ride was hot, hot, hot. I later heard on the news (at 7 PM) it was 100 at that time – so we were probably riding in 105 or so. We stopped a couple of times and I grabbed two drinks at each stop; one water and one slushy-type drink, and drank them simultaneously. At the second stop before Sturgis*, we stayed in the convenience store for about 20 minutes. It wasn’t all that cool in there, but better than outside. I finally got smart and went to the restroom, washed off all the sunscreen (which was keeping me from sweating very well) and ran cold water over my wrists, fore arms and inside the elbows. That cooled me down pretty well. Then we went to the Sturgis* Harley dealer about 2 miles from the convenience store and browsed for about 20 minutes. I now have a shirt from Sturgis*. When we left the Harley dealer, we turned back south and headed for our destination of North Manchester, IN (just south and west of Fort Wayne.
We had a great visit with Heather and Harry. They kicked one of the kids out of her room so we had a place to sleep (poor girl had to room with her sister). Saturday night, WS got to looking at a map of the states and decided that just adding PA, OH, MI and IN to my repertoire wasn’t enough; he was trying to figure out how to get some more southerly states into the mix. After explaining the route he was contemplating, it was determined that we needed about 6 more hours of ride time to be able to do it. So, we decided to get out of Harry and Heather’s hair early and leave noon Sunday instead of Monday morning.
H&H made us a great send-off breakfast (almost brunch) of biscuits and gravy with French toast after which we packed up and got on our way. Everything was great until somewhere in KY, where we ran into a storm. We could see it coming our way, but it was hard to tell if we were going to hit it as the direction of the road changed constantly. However, once the temp dropped about 20 degrees, and a few drops of rain fell, we stopped and put on our rain gear. We got back on the highway and the rain got progressively worse. It began pouring so hard that traffic slowed to 30-35 MPH and everyone turned on their emergency flashers. Then the wind started. After a while (with the rain still pouring and speed still at 30-35), the wind made it almost impossible to stay in one lane. Behind tree screens, we would regain control and get to the right side of the lane. Wherever the tree screen broke, we would be blown all the way to the center line even though we were prepared and leaning into it. We finally found an off ramp and followed it to an underpass. We were not the first there, just the driest. Two bikers were there without any gear at all. The wind howled and the rain continued to come down in sheets. Even cars were seeking shelter. Then, the wind shifted and came from the opposite direction. WS and I agreed that if we heard a train, it would be time to panic.
Fortunately, we never heard a train (tornado) and the wind and rain eventually died down enough for us to get back on our way. WS walked out from the underpass and found that there were train tracks about 50 yards behind our position. We would have freaked if a train had passed at that time! We had holed up for about 40 minutes but the rest of the trip to Lexington was uneventful.
After a good night’s sleep, it was back on the highway to go thru several more states; Tennessee (thru Knoxville), Virginia (thru Roanoke and Winchester – the Shenandoah Valley is very pretty!), and West Virginia before stopping for the night. We had hoped to spend the night in southern Pennsylvania, but a traffic jam that cost us an hour, then a stop to don rain suits, made that impractical. The last leg of the journey on Tuesday was a long one thru a bit of Maryland, thru Pennsylvania, then New York (on the Taconic), Massachusetts and Vermont before winding up home shortly after 8 PM.
The dogs and cats were happy to see us (and we, to see them). The neighbor kids had done a bang up job of taking care of both the animals and plant life, vegetable garden and potted plant, while we were gone (it doesn’t hurt that we pay them well). Wednesday we recovered from our whirlwind tour, doing laundry, putting things away, washing and waxing my bike (WS had waxed his the day before we left).
*Sturgis - the one in Michigan, not the one in South Dakota.
Our trip to/from Indiana was generally smooth. The bikes ran great, even in the hot weather (the bikes are air cooled, not radiator cooled). We didn’t forget anything at home that we had to have. Nor did we leave anything at any of our stops.
That is not to say there were no hiccups. I neglected to bring my Walkman charge cord, so by the second day it had died. I put my phone to work in its place, using the IHeartRadio app, The app had a few issues at times, but was working okay. Then I hit the thing with my hand and I saw parts fly. We were going 70-75 MPH down the highway, so I figured I had just lost my phone. But then I still heard music, the same music that had been playing before I saw parts fly. I finally located my phone hanging in front of my tank; hanging by the auxiliary cord. The case I had for my phone had broken and those were the parts I saw flying. I was able to secure the phone in my windshield bag after rotating my glasses to a pouch behind me.
Once in Indiana, I was able to get a new case, but I couldn’t get one with the belt holster, and it is slick in the hand, but it will do for now.
Harry came up with a charging cord for my Walkman, so I charged it while there (actually took the cord home with me to keep it charge). However, the Walkman decided that it didn’t like the big rain storms we hit on the way to Lexington, and quit working. Well, “quit” isn’t quite the word. It actually started playing everything in fast forward. Ah well, I turned to the radio and found that the mountains (hills) kept most stations from coming in for very long. That was okay, there was plenty of traffic and scenery to occupy my mind. The next day, the Walkman started working fine. Then it started pausing itself randomly. After an hour of that, I turned it off. At the next stop, I blew in the two speakers at the back of the Walkman to dislodge / dry out any remaining moisture, and it worked fine the rest of the way home (there is a joke about blow jobs in there – you can figure it out).
All in all, just minor irritants.
Observations from Indiana Trip
When we got into Pennsylvania there were two immediate observations:
- That state (and every state south of PA) is the land of bikers who wave to everyone – even across 6 lanes of traffic and a 90’ wide grass median. I have enough to do trying to pay attention to traffic around me, I sure don’t have time to look at what is going on way over there if it isn’t going to impact me. So, every biker we passed going the opposite direction on the highway thought I was a snob. That trend lasted in the southern states, but I didn’t notice it in Indiana or Michigan.
- If there are two bikes together, the one behind is in the greater danger from drivers merging onto the highway or changing lanes. They would hear the bikes, see WS go by (or wait for him to go by), and never look or check their mirrors for another bike (I know, because I was watching them thru the side windows). Several times, if I hadn’t anticipated it, I would have been run over/into. Sometimes I was able to move to the next lane. Sometimes I could slow down quickly, while avoiding getting run over from behind. One of those times the guy driving car that tried to run me over looked in his rear-view mirror and give me an apologetic wave. One time, I had no room to swerve into another lane and no time to slow down, so I twisted the throttle and squeezed the bike between the car’s bumper coming at me and the side of the car beside me. I literally made it thru by inches. It’s not like I was far behind WS either, so it's not like the driver's thought they could squeeze between us - they flat did not look once they saw WS go by. Fortunately I am always anticipating and watching other drives because I assume I am invisible (despite the 3 lights and liberal use of the horn when needed) and figure that everyone is out to kill me when I am on the bike. Okay, not all near misses happened in PA, but the first several were and the trend seemed to start there. I also had issues in the southern states – but not NY, MA, VT or NH. Probably doesn’t mean anything, just my experience this one trip.
PA, where the bikers are overly friendly, and the drivers are not.
July 08, 2012
We are Good
Made it to North Manchester, Indiana okay on Friday. Changed plans and left half a day early to head south. Now in Lexington, KY for the night. Went thru major storm to get here. Had to stop at an underpass for a while. The pouring rain was one thing. The 50-60 mph wind that blew us from lane to lane was the dangerous part.
Will try to go thru TN, WV and VI before heading back to PA, and then back home. The motorcycles have performed flawlessly (knock on wood).
Just wanted to let all know that we are okay.
June 08, 2012
WS's Trip to DC
Early morning on Wednesday before Memorial Weekend, WS and 3 of his buddies hit the road on their bikes to ride to DC. Okay, they actually rode to Gettysburg, about an hour outside of DC, because that is where their hotel was. The hit several sections of rain, one of which the rain was so hard, and the spray from the tractor-trailers so thick, that vision was very limited. Being on a highway, that’s not good, so they stopped at an underpass to wait out the worst. Several other bikes were there waiting it out too. They left at 6 in the morning and got to Gettysburg about 6:30 that evening.
There were memorials out the ying-yang. He said that there were a massive amount of memorials that they never saw because the woods were full of them; off the road and only assessable by horse of 4 wheelers, or hiking a distance.
They also went into DC and visited several of the monuments to more recent wars (WW1, WW2, Korean and Vietnam. The reflecting pool is apparently being totally redone, so was closed. There is an Einstein statue near Thunder Alley (where all the vendors hawk items associated with the Rolling Thunder event, where the group of guys that WS went with meet up if they get separated. Of course they had to have their pics taken.
Then there was the Patriotic bike and the truck that started off the parade.
I rode to work that day even though there was a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon (seems a little off topic, but bear with me). I left work shortly before 4 as I was watching the radar and there were storms roaring thru Vermont. I figured I would get home before the worst of the storms, which I did – I just got sprinkled and lightly rained on the last 7 miles. I could hear the thunder when I shut my bike down, so I hurried up and got it into the shed, then got the dogs into the house. Next, I turned on the news (it was shortly before 6 at that time) to see the radar.
The first thing I was greeted with was a tornado warning. Radar had detected a possible tormado in the Keene area, and the storm was on a vector to hit the Hillsboro area. Knowing that WS and the group should be coming thru the area around the time that the storm would hit, I decided to call WS. I left him a message (figuring that when they hit the NH border they would stop to take off helmets). The message indicated the tornado warning in Keene, that the storm was heading East and would hit Hillsboro in about 40 minutes. So, if they just set tight for about 30 minutes, they would ride in behind the activity.
About 10 minutes later I got a call from WS; he was down in Hillsboro and wanted to make sure the gate and shed were open when he got home. He beat the storm in; it was raining, but still fairly light. Shortly after he and his gear made it into the house, the heavens opened up and we got 2.5 inches of rain in 20 minutes. According to the news, they crossed thru Keene at the right time. Any later and they would have been back-tracking to get home as 9, 10, 12 and 12A washed out and were closed. Other roads in the area, completely disappeared. The only good news those residents had was that there was never an actual tornado spotted.
The driveway washed out in several spots, so WS spent the next day (which was still a vacation day) fixing it.
He must have done a good job as we have had another 6.5+ inches since then without any trouble (it has rained just about every day since then).
Anyway, he enjoyed his vacation with the guys, as much as I enjoyed my time alone.
June 03, 2012
Rolling Thunder - Run to the Wall Videos
Stu has requested that I put up some of the better Rolling Thunder videos. I googled and found a bunch and didn't find any that were not accurate as most are personal videos made by participants. Here is a moving one of the Marine that solutes for the entire parade, which lasts for hours:
Here is a time lapse video of this year's 25th anniversary parade taken from behind the Marine.
The only thing these videos don't get is the mass amount of humanity that is there to witness the parade. They are packed along the whole parade route like sardinges - but everyone is happy to do it as they honor our fallen, missing and POWs.
One of the most enduring memories I have from when I attended the parade years ago, was an elderly vet (most likey from WWII), in a wheelchair making his way down the sidewalk. Everyone along his path made room (although one would swear there was no room to make) and cheered and clapped just for him. He was moved to tears as people made their way thru the crowd specifically to shake his hand.
Additionally, for several days leading up to the parade, bikers (as well as others) are everywhere, going thru the memorials (Viet Nam memorial wall - for which the Rolling Thunder Run to the Wall is named, Korean, WWII etc), many of which are haunting in their presentation. Then there is the Reflecting Pool, Washington monument, Lincoln memorial etc.
I''ll put up pictures from WS's trip later next week so you can see some of the outlying tributes to our internal battles.