pecunium: (Motorcycle)
Yesterday was pretty easy riding. I left Albuquerque feeling better about myself for a realization I had in the shower. I wasn't actually taking a break from three days of riding when I imposed on my hosts to let me stay another day. I was taking a break from five days of riding.

But the ride to OKC was without real adventure. I was bemused by the signs in New Mexico.... "Strong Winds May Exist". No, I assure you, they do exist. On Tuesday, when I left Arizona I was struck by how much it was a place apart. When I left Needles, and started the climb into Ariz. there was a slight phase shift... it was a different sort of country. The same thing happened when I left it, and entered New Mexico. The terrain was similar, but different. Not so when I entered Texas. The speed limit dropped, but the terrain looked much the same. It took about fifty miles to look a bit different, and I don't know when to be "not at all New Mexico.' The same sort of thing applied when I got to Oklahoma (where, right at the border, they had a sign saying, "Share the road" with a motorcycle logo).

The day was cool. I didn't need the vest. I, in fact, was grateful for my motorcycle skills class being in the rain, because I was peppered with light rain for much of the last 150 miles to OKC. Nothing massive, but enough to make me glad I'd had the chance to play with a bike on different traction. I did take advantage of it to play with the brakes, testing the ABS in the sort of conditions it's supposed to actually help decrease stopping distance.

The only thing which was a problem was the indicator which tells me what gear I am in. It seems the wiring harness has a bit of weak insulation somewhere, as I had two gears, 1 and 0 (i.e. neutral). The actual gears, of course, were just fine. It resolved itself a bit after that bit of rain stopped.

I got into town as the sun was setting, pulled into a La Quinta ("We support our troops) and got a room for the military rate (the advantages of having ID, "service connected" on my VA card is handy).

Up in the morning, a bit late (I'd done 541 miles the day before, at an average moving speed of 70 mph... it seems my speedo is a bit off... it's not consistent, but at highway speeds it's between five and seven; at the speeds I tested it... the GPS is handy... I can test without a pace car), and moving by a bit after 10.

Then I hit the rain. Stopped at an IHOP, bagged my gear (two layers of drawstring trash bags), had brekkie. The rain wasn't letting up. Called my dad, got the weather... 150 miles of rain, at least. Nothing for it but to do it. Got my waterproof gloves, loaded the bike up (and managed, I think, to lose the headphone to my iPod, in the course of straightening out my pockets) and on the bike.

Which was when I found out my waterproof gloves.. aren't quite. They seem to be great at keeping water in. This is a problem. They are windproof. My hands did not get numb, but when I balled a tight fist, I could see water being squeezed out of them, and feel it pooling inside of them. When I stopped for gas, I went back to the regular gloves. I don't know if the "waterproof" gloves suffer from a quirk of bike hear (they are gauntlets, my jacket; which is pretty proof against water getting to me, tucks inside them... so they catch the runoff), or are semi-permeable in the wrong direction. I will probably keep then for cold weather, but they are hors de combat IMO, as regards the wet.

When I was finally clear of the rain, I changed my socks. My feet were awash too. There is only so much water the leather can keep out. I wear wool socks when riding, even wet they were comfortable. Put on new socks, and snugged the boots as tightly as I could; they will be even more glovelike tomorrow. Crossed the Mississippi in the last bit of daylight. The sun was behind clouds, so the dramatic aspects were reduced, but she is still a lovely thing.

Thought about moving on (tomorrow is the last day in the saddle for a couple of weeks; every mile of easting I made meant one less mile in the saddle tomorrow), but the heat, humidity, wet, time, and dark, all combined to tell me it was folly to press on. Once I got out of Memphis, it was who knew how likely I was to find lodging closer than Nashville, which is three hours from here. So I pulled in to a La Quinta, offloaded the gear from the bike, ordered a pizza and started typing.

It's only 320 miles tomorrow, so (barring more rain) I can be as leisurely leaving tomorrow morning, as I was leaving this morning, and still be in before dark (even with the time change when I get between Nashville and Knoxville.). It's a bit more than four hours saddle time (if I keep to my 70mph average). On the road at 10, and an hour for lunch gets me in at 1600 local. Enough time to unpack, have a beer, post a sit-rep and still make it to the river for the fireworks.

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pecunium

May 2016

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