Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Saddleback School

When I lived in SoCal, there was a neighborhood named Saddleback after the low pass in the mountains behind it.  That meant there was Saddleback everything;  Saddleback College, Saddleback Church, etc.  This saddleback school is a little different.  I found it on a back road in Ohio.  It was taken by my little point and shoot Panasonic, so it isn't as clear as the new camera, but I hope you enjoy the subject.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Do you ever get the feeling that you have forgotten something?

The plan was to join the MSTA group in North Carolina for a week of riding twisty roads around the Smokies.  It looked like spring had finally sprung and the last two weeks, the weather has been fine.  I had done my prep work.  The bike was fully maintained and setup.  I had set aside the things I needed to take and even washed my riding gear.

Sometimes the adventure you plan, isn't the adventure you get.  This small adventure started the night before the trip when the weather turned cold.  Looking at the weather, I figured I could ride between two lines of thunderstorms and that the day would warm up as I rode south.  OK, game on.

After packing and checking my gear, I start to get dressed for the 41 deg F at my departure time.  The first bit of fun was when my insulated pants decided to blow a zipper.  After about 30 minutes of trying to fix it, I give up and change into snowmobile thermal underwear.

I do my final walk around the house and don't see anything I'm missing, but I have that feeling that I'm forgetting something.

The weather has warmed up to 42 deg F but the air is damp and the clouds hang low.  Nothing like cold, wet air for riding a motorcycle. 
I stop several times to switch or adjust my clothes.  I'm cold, but I'm surviving.

It takes until 2:30 for the temp to creep up to 50 deg, but I am making good progress, about 200 miles of back roads under my belt and the roads are getting twisty.

Sometimes, things just come to mind without being bidden.  By 4:30, the day was getting fine and I was about an hour out from my hotel.  All of a sudden, a picture of my meds sitting on my bathroom counter comes to mind and I can't remember packing them on the motorcycle.  I realize that this is the end of my trip.  Nobody to blame but myself.  A stop to confirm and I know that I'm headed home the same night.

I do have to give it up to Mr. Garmin.  I pushed the button that says, "Take me Home" and the GPS did a great job of finding a quick way home.  I'm making good time when I see a line of thunderstorms coming my way.  I get geared up for the rain, but I can't prepare for the gusting and swirling winds that come with the squall line.  Pretty soon, I'm off the highway and sitting on a side road with the bike parked and pointed into the wind, on the kickstand, and me hanging on while the wind tries to rip my clothes off and tip the bike over.  That put a pretty little dent in my arrival time.

Of course, along with the squall line, the temperature dropped to 40 deg F.  Eventually, I started riding home again, sometimes crawling along at 30 mph, sometimes highway speed.  There is nothing like a crosswind gust trying to tear the bike out from under you to get your attention.

I did make it home after a 500 mile day of mostly cold and wind.  This morning, I am recovering and enjoying the warm house.  It is even colder today, 36 deg F when I awoke, so I'm not going anywhere.  But at least I've got my meds.