Trip Log 5/24/09

I figured this trip I would find out how long it would take to get to a local attraction via back roads and motorcycle.  This whole week has been rainy and miserable and a ride was just the thing to improve that.  That’s what I planned for, but not what I got.

Looking at the map, it looked like a straight shot on three different roads.  There was a connector from one roadway to the next, but I figured that would be obvious when i got to that point.  That was a very poor assumption.  Not knowing the name of that road cost me probably 45 minutes of my route and returned to bite me in the ass again.  But when riding, you don’t get so worried about taking the long way.  That is, until you realize how badly you want the short way.

I hit the first waypoint and began the straight shot segment.  I got caught in a little rain.  At the time I was unfazed.  I got a little wet, but started drying right away from the heat and wind.  If you’re not from FL, you won’t believe the rain patterns.  It can be pouring down rain, but across the street, it’s perfectly dry.  I have seen a downpour about the size of a couple parking spaces.

When I got to what would be the second waypoint, I didn’t recognize it.  Primarily because the intersection had a lot going on: a red light, train tracks, and a steep drop-off.   Secondly, because I didn’t know the name of the street I wanted.  So I kept going straight and ended up somewhere else.  Then the rain began for real.

It was my first rain ride and I was unprepared.  I have no luggage, so I wasn’t hauling my mesh jacket’s rain liner.  The downpour got me pretty good.  I took shelter for a little bit at a gas station until some vehicles wanting gas pushed me out from the canopy.  Riding less than a mile down the road, the rain stopped and the roads were dry – go figure.

I finally reached my intended destination and turned around to head back.  The sky ahead looked like dark slate.  I considered my options over a meal: try and wait it out or plow through it.  Waiting it out could mean sitting until dusk and possibly the storm would come at me anyway.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and head into the maelstrom.  With thunder and lightning all around, a fogged-up helmet, a significant drop in temperature, and an uncertain route, I adopted a steady mantra of "This sucks.  This sucks.  This sucks."  I can only hope the people in cars were sympathetic to my situation as I slowed them down quite badly.

I had to make another safety stop at a gas station.  The counter person was kind enough to point me the right direction to get back home.  It happens I was at the intersection I needed to be at.  I got a lucky break for once.  On the positive side, because of my ill-planned route, I had to make a couple very quick decisions in turning and braking, which I pulled off without issue.  Being a new rider, I am pleased by this.

I eventually made it home, stripped off the water-weighted jacket and jeans, wrung out my socks (literally) and took a nice, long, hot shower.  After getting my sanity back, I was able to go back outside to dry and polish up the bike before putting it away.  I’ve made a mental note that I will not leave the house without the GPS in my pocket.  In fact, I will probably be ordering a trunk for the bike this week and maybe a GPS mount for the handlebars.

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