24 March 2010

Ride Report: theWolf gets wet and dirty

14 March 2010 We must be crazy!!

I'd spent the Saturday washing clothes, probably for the first time since it got cold by the amount of loads I washed and getting ready to leave on Tuesday for the Savannah Trip with Dad.  I hadn't given riding this weekend any thought until around 9 or 10 when I got a text from Bobby asking if I was riding with them tomorrow.  Heck Yeah!!  The only thing I had planned was watching the first Formula One race of the year, riding would be so much more fun.

I quickly logged onto the internet to check out our chat site to find out the specifics of the ride.  It turns out that Bobby liked the ride route I'd gotten from someone on the Sport-Touring.net site and that was the plan.  There was some mention of rain, but Bobby assured us that it was small at around 30%.  Good enough for me.  I hurriedly finished folding and putting away clothes, packing could wait until Monday.  Besides, I like waiting until the last possible minute to pack anyway this trip would be no different.

As usual, we were meeting at Starbuck's at 9.  Daylight Savings Time started in the wee hours of Sunday morning, but I'd set the clocks back at sunset.  I gathered all of the stuff I like to take with me (wallet, cell phone, cameras, extra batteries, and mp3 player) and set them on the wall next to the steps so I wouldn't forget anything.

At 7:30 I got a reminder text from Bobby, that woke up the whole house because of where I had the phone, to set the clocks forward.  No problem, already done.  The weather all week was nice so I decided not to wear the synthetic warming shirt and just go with a t-shirt under my freshly washed long-sleeved Rejecks shirt.  With the thought of showers in the afternoon, I put the liners in my pants and jacket because if we got rained on, I'd stay dry.

As I watched the garage door rise, I noticed the driveway was a little damp but it seemed to be drying.  By the time the door was all the way up, I saw gray skies that suggested it might not be as warm as it had been the day before but I was confident the clouds would burn off once the sun got up good.  Earlier in the week, I sent my the headset for my communications device to the manufacturer for repair so I would be riding without being able to hear what Bobby and Tony were talking about.

After a quick stop to top off the tank, I was the first one to arrive at Starbucks.  I was so busy looking around trying to see why I was first that I wasn't paying attention as I rolled the bike to a stop.  The weight got too far right and down he went.  An auspicious beginning to the day.  Once of the guys in the parking lot and a Starbucks employee helped me pick Baby up.  I surveyed the bike but could find no damage other than a folded mirror.  The T-Rex sliders stopped any case damage.

I decided I needed a cup of coffee and as I was leaving the store, Tony went buzzing by on his way to the gas station.  I was relieved to know I had not been left.  A few minutes later, Bobby and Teresa arrived.  It would just be the three of us because David had a honey-do list the size of Texas from the way he described it.

After drinking coffee and discussing the gray skies, cool weather, and the possibility of rain, we were tempted just to go home.  But a guy on a cruiser rode by.  If he was out riding, surely we couldn't be wimps.    We suited up and were leaving the parking lot before 9:30 having decided to take the interstate to Cleveland.

On the way up, the sun made an appearance giving me hope that the clouds would go away but by the time we reached our usual stop in Cleveland, sprinkles had started falling.  Not a good sign, maybe I should have checked the weather.  To make matters worse, my right heated glove was not working.  Apparently getting ripped off when I tipped over broke the connections.  I'm beginning to think I need to travel with a soldering kit!  Even though I knew the glove wasn't working, I didn't change it.

From the gas station, we kept straight on 19.  As we gained altitude, the sprinkles stopped but the temps dropped.  My right hand was starting to get cold.  I fought not to think about it and to concentrate on the wet roads but as we progressed, it was getting harder and harder.  After a few turns, I was thinking of looking for a place to pull over to put on the warmer unheated glove when I noticed Bobby was stopped in the middle of the road.  Next to him, a yellow sign warning that the pavement ends.

While Bobby consulted his GPS, I hopped off and changed gloves, grateful for the warmth.  About the time I re-mounted, Tony was urging me forward.  Bobby had ridden forward to check out the quality of the road and deemed it passable for the two or so miles until our next turn.  As soon as I got onto the smooth gray surface, I felt the bike wiggle a little in protest before gaining traction.

As I was wondering why the road was gray and not the usual red clay so common in Georgia, I saw red streaks of it on the shiny surface.  The road was wet and slippery, but at least it was smooth.  No sooner than the thought finished forming, I saw several baseball sized holes in the road ahead which I was easily able to avoid.  Then we were passed by three guys on dirt bikes going the other way.  I'm certain I heard laughter.

I guess if I saw three street motorcycles on that slick road, I'd have been laughing too.  They must have thought we were crazy for being out on such a miserable day.  They might be right.  A few minutes later, we reached pavement and were soon zooming away from the wet dirt road.  Not long after that, we were pulling into a gas station in Blairsville having finished the planned route for the day.

That's when I noticed the dirt on my swing arm, so much for dirt roads and riding in the rain.  My bike had never been that dirty.  We found a place to eat lunch and I snapped a few pics:

By the time we found a diner, it was raining proper.  After lunch, we decided to go straight home, taking 60 through Dahlonega and then 19 down to 400.

Pics of our lunch spot as we get ready to leave:
Lunch here was inconsistent.  Some things, like the chili, were very good while others not so much.

On the way to 60, Bobby took us over a covered wooden bridge.  Did I mention it was raining?  Yes, the wood was wet and I was glad it was a short bridge.  Less than a half mile later, I see an ominous sign "Pavement Ends".  Confident that Tony's dire warning about more dirt roads would mean we were turning around, I waited patiently while Bobby consulted the GPS.  Then watched in horror as he crossed over to the dirt.

What happened to Tony killing him if we took another dirt road?  I looked back at Tony but he just shrugged and motioned me forward.  This road was similar to the last one except it was beside a nice little river.  When we reached the stop sign, the next road was still dirt.  A passerby walking his gray dawg suggested we'd be better off turning around, which we did.  Continuing on the road we originally turned off of (after crossing that damned bridge again) until we got to 60.

Hwy 60 was much cleaner after the rain earlier in the week but wet because of the sporadic rain and fog of the day.  When we passed by T.W.O, the parking lot was empty.  It was about that time I realized I'd been fighting the bike.  I wasn't leaning like I should have been doing, instead leaning the bike while trying to stay upright.  My arms and back were taking the brunt of it and by the time we neared Rider's Hill, I was going to stop whether anyone else did or not.  I was relieved to see their turn signals.

Here are pics of our bikes after our second foray onto the dirt/mud.

I had dirt on my pants too.

Tony's bike:

Bobby and Teresa's Bike:

Crazy Rejeks:

We had to take a picture because Tony's or my bike may never be that dirty again.  I'm not too sure about Bobby's!!

We stayed at Rider's Hill for about an hour before finally heading home.  I got home around 5 ish and was exhausted.  I don't think I like cold rainy curvy roads.  I know I don't like wet muddy roads.


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