By meteorological standards, motorcycle season came early to Oklahoma. Truth be known, the riding season ran pretty much all through the short so-called-nonexistent winter.
I’m writing this as a reminder to myself to pay attention to the road and the weather.
With this unseasonably warm weather pop-up thunderstorms are very possible.
Last year I rode in a hail storm. That was no fun. All I heard was the pitter-patter of little golf-ball sized hailstones as they bounced off my helmet. Which was made worse by the fact that I was on the interstate at 11:00 at night with nowhere to pull off and get out of the weather. There was one too many idiots on the highway that night — me.
The bike is in good shape and ready for another season. 🙂
There is a little stretch of curvy road on the southwest corner of the Smokey Mountain National Park called The Tail of the Dragon. Riders literally come from all over the world to this little corner of Tennessee to try to tame The Dragon. This little ribbon of asphalt can be a real challenge for even the most skilled rider.
Occasionally someone will try to ride the Dragon like they ride to bike night and the highway is not very forgiving. Traction is everything and your machine is glued to the pavement on two tiny patches of rubber not much bigger than a big footprint. Lose traction, as this bike did, and it’s all over but the crash.
Considering the positioning of the passengers hand and the impending intersection of skin and pavement, I can only guess this didn’t end well. At a minimum there were only broken bones and road rash, picking out little pieces of asphalt for the next three days. Ouch! At worst… well, we won’t even think about the at worst.
Over the last dozen years baby boomers by the thousands have taken to two wheels. Many fancy themselves to be the next Evel Knievel or Peter Fonda. Some people forget motorcycles are inherently dangerous and will put themselves into a situation outside their skill level. Once there the results can be deadly.
Even the most experienced riders can benefit from the occasional skills development program. You may already know how to ride. They will just show you how to ride safer.
For rider courses in your area contact:
Motorcycle Safety Foundation
or Learn to Ride @ Rider’s Edge
**Thank you to my biker friend Michael for passing along the above photo.
The wind pushed me all the way yesterday. The weather outlook for Sunday was not very promising so I decided to ride it all the way. I’d rather ride a dry night than a wet day.
Anyway, I caught a brief storm near Henryetta, OK., last night. The experience of hail storms bouncing off my helmet was a new experience. I rode about eight miles in it until I finally got to an exit. I was soaked and getting cold. The ride in from there after a thirty minute stop was dry, albeit a bit cold.
650 miles – 14 hours
It’s good to be home.
I made it to Nashville yesterday. I’m afraid I am going to have to break down and put a new tire on Pearl. I didn’t want to but I felt her fishtailing a couple of times, so I gotta.
With a little luck I’ll be heading towards Oklahoma by Sunday.
“The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco.” ~Mark Twain
June 1, 2009, I snapped this photo looking across the water to Alcatraz Prison. My belly was full from the chowder bowl I enjoyed at Boudins on the Wharf an hour earlier. I parked along Mason Street in the Presidio and took this shot. The Golden Gate Bridge was just to my left, but hidden in thick fog. A few minutes after this photo op, I rode across the Bridge, turned off the 101 onto Shoreline Hwy to make my northerly run. Three hours later, just north of Jenner, a car crowded me off the road landing me and Pearl upside down in the gravel. I was fine, Pearl was banged up, but the trip north ended right there.
With the bulk of the midwest buried in the white stuff and all bundled up in their snuggies, I’d like to give a shout out to all my biker friends in Chicago, Minneapolis, Toldedo, and the surrounding areas. It sucks to be you.
I’m hearing from people with over twenty inches of snow on the ground. What do you get to do in weather like that? Shovel snow? Make snow angels? Have snowball fights with your riding brothers? Ride your Harley? The answers to those questions are respectively, yes – yes – yes – and, are you out of your ever-loving mind? When you open your garage door and all you see is white, don’t you just get a little weepy? Spring is still three months away and your riding season is officially closed. Well, it is for those of you in the frozen tundra of the American midwest. The short riding season is a good reason to not live there.
I basically ride year round. Let me qualify that…
There are days I won’t ride because it’s in the thirties or below, but there are days when it’s in the thirties or below that I will. If I have to ride I won’t let low temps stop me. I like riding in cool weather. I just don’t like getting ready to ride in cool weather. Layering the clothes, hauling out the big leather, and getting it all on is just a pain in the ass. There may be a few days in the winter when we get snow and on those days I wouldn’t ride even if I thought I could. The biggest need for a safe ride is traction. Traction is everything and you just get very little of it on the snow and ice. But thankfully those days are few and far between.
So to my my chosen frozen friends of the north, I say grab a cup of hot cocoa, sit by the crackling fire and think about riding along the beaches of Daytona or Southern California. Me – I’m going for a ride today.
“I’d rather be riding my motorcycle, thinking about God, than sitting in church, thinking about my motorcycle.” ~Anonymous biker