Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Ventura County, California Republic
Winter Madness 2010
When did it all start?
The Madness I mean?
I'd say it started just a few months ago after returning to Chicago and jumping into a more "normal" life after a long fall ride. I haven't spent too much time in Chitown lately, being busy on the road working and riding...
I have been very lucky throughout my life, mostly doing things my way and coming out ahead, and rarely dissatisfied with the way things work out.
This year has been different, many things are out of balance in my life, many new firsts, and even a few regrets.
Not that I haven't had some good times this year, it's just a little different compared to the years before.
So is life.
Not doing my normal gigs or just many gigs in general this year put me in place where I'm commuting long miles to jobs not all that satisfying both mentally and financially (when there was even work). Add in the challenges of riding everyday in Chicagoland in December, (the intensely cold and crappy weather didn't help my mental state) and a not so satisfying living situation with a need to be free and SNAP! Holiday Pressures, work, home, life, money. Depression.
And it's not even really winter yet.
I felt like a bird in a cage for some time just yearning to be free to spread my wings and fly. When I say fly I mean ride!
Staying in line with my ONE LIFE ONE CHANCE way of being, I hastily packed my bike a few days ago, cancelled what very little work I had set up, said goodbye to my family and left Chicago the day after I decided I HAD to go. I Needed to go.
This wasn't an easy decision seeing as it's the week before Xmas.... maybe I'll touch on that later on. Maybe not.
Ever want to just say screw it and leave?
We all do right?
That's what I' did, heading back west with very little money and no job, dreaming of warm weather and new opportunities in the near future.
Now granted I did have a good reason to want to be in Sunny California besides the aforementioned reasons, I'll introduce her later on though...
Now a little of The Madness in my head is out of the way lets get moving and get into The Madness on two wheels!
Now, being determined (stubborn or just stupid) I left Chicago when I said I would, unfortunately there was an impending storm to make my departure form the Midwest in December one to be remembered.
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 8 PM CST THURSDAY... A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 8 PM CST THURSDAY. * TIMING...A MIXTURE OF SNOW...SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN WILL DEVELOP THIS EVENING AND GRADUALLY CHANGE OVER TO A FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET MIXTURE. * ACCUMULATIONS...LESS THAN A QUARTER OF INCH OF ICE BY MORNING WITH ANY SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 4-6 INCHES. * WIND...WILL NOT BE A FACTOR WITH THIS SYSTEM. * IMPACTS...WITH THE PRECIPITATION EXPECTED TO DEVELOP THIS EVENING THE TAIL END OF THE EVENING RUSH HOUR MAY BE AFFECTED. CURRENT INDICATIONS SUGGEST THE PRIMARY TIME FOR A STEADY MIX OF FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET WILL BE LATER THIS EVENING AND WITH THE WINTRY MIX TAPERING OFF TO SOME VERY LIGHT SNOW OR FREEZING DRIZZLE THURSDAY MORNING...AFFECTING THE MORNING RUSH HOUR. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW...SLEET...OR FREEZING RAIN WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES...AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING. &&
Screw it, I'm leaving anyways.
See that twinkle of Madness in my eyes?
That's the spark to the start of the Adventure that lies ahead.
Or is it just The Madness?
Bye bye snow!
I left around 10AM in an emotional departure, riding into The Snow.
This is where I rode 350 miles of single track straight south.
When I say single track, I mean the two feet of wet salty brine on the highway in between ice and snow where the car tires had worked in the salt laid down by the many plow trucks I had been passing. I guess technically it's a double track on tarmac, but I believe it would be real bad if you tried to cross over at highway speeds, making it essentially a single track.
Subsequently, we picked up the life giving salt and became covered in it.
Eventually the roads became slightly better as the temperature dropped and the snow lightened up - but then the icy roads took over.
My way of dealing with it was to just keep all inputs to the bike very very gentle - little throttle, little brake, light turning, etc. I treated it all like solid ice and rode loose and mellow, no death grip, just kind of letting the bike float around.
Cold, wet, icy, grey, tense, scary, boring, exciting, terrifying, monotonous, cold, etc, etc, etc...
My Gerbings Jacket and G3 gloves combined with the Rukka suit plus good insulated underwear did a decent job of keeping up with the windchill temps around 0ºF.
My big problem was my feet. I couldn't find the Gerbings socks I hadn't used in a long time so my feet were to suffer.
I stopped after 2 hours to thaw out in a diner, and then after another few hours I had to stop at a truck stop and rent a shower to warm up my painfully cold feet.
A few truckers came up to talk to me, some of the comments:
( while walking through truck stop with helmet) " I hope to God you're on a snowmobile!"
(looking at the K60 snowtire on the back) "I'd say that's the tire you should be running right about now eh?"
Ah, the wisdom found at a Loves Truck Stop....
Getting back on the road I finally made it to a wet, cold St. Louis, the gateway to the West.
Being in Missouri the temps rose to a balmy 28ºF as the sun set.
I was determined to go further south, and after a dinner stop at my favorite southern diner I set out to make it to Cape Girardeau.
The temps were dropping fast after dark, and the roads were Icing up. There was a light icy mist in the air, making my face shield quite fuzzy to look through. Not being able to see if I was on ice things were pretty scary.... Crazy scenarios ran through my head, all ending bad.
I finally stopped about 30 miles short of my goal when enough was enough.
The next day I was once again greeted with cold temps and ice on everything, but today would be different. I would cross that imaginary line into the South and away from the brutal winter found in the Midwest.
Even though there was ice on everything the main roads were OK, mostly dry and white with salt. The ice was actually quite beautiful adding a shimmer to every tree and rock.
The GS was looking and running good, even with the never ending little oil leak around the valve cover.
As I rode south, the ice disappeared and the temp went up, now being a nice 36ºF.
As I was happier the further south I was (warmth can do that), it was also hard knowing what I was leaving behind. No Xmas with the family. No security of a home....
It was somewhere around here where my GS troubles began.
Stopping to get fuel my bike wouldn't start again!
I asked for a jump from a guy towing an RV and got the bike started.
I better take it easy on the electrics to let the battery charge...
Determined that my second night was to be spent in New Orleans I pushed on after dark.
It started to rain and was around 40º, but at least there was NO ICE!
Making it into N. O. I went into the French Quarter for a look around...
While I was cruising on Canal my superior riding skills prevailed and I killed the engine at a green light.
I push the bike off of Canal ( a major road) into the sidewalk on a side street.
45ºF and raining.
Welcome to New Orleans Mr. Adventure....
I flagged down a cab, offering $10 for a quick jump start.... the cabbie kept commenting how cold it was and how could I be riding in this horrible weather....
Eventually I got the GS started, and kept all electrics off.
Knowing something was going wrong I bailed into a shitty part of town to find a cheap motel... but first stopping at a shady gas station to get some beer. SInce I had bike problems it was cold and raining, and little cash, there was to be no night out, just some cheap booze in a cheap hotel....
The bike had been running for at least 45 minutes by now with no accessories and I was faced with leaving it running while I went in or not...
There's no way I'm leaving it running in this super ghetto hood where I was the only white boy for miles...
Needless to say, of course it didn't start when I came out.
Dead GS in Da Hood!
I managed to buy a jump start for $5 from a truck full of people, an interesting experience, but got it going just the same.
Checking into a shady hotel I met the local very large, black prostitutes who where my neighbors.
We chatted while I unloaded my bike, leaving it running with the headlight disconnected to help with the charging.
Once they understood I was not in need of their services and couldn't be hustled they were friendly and we ended up smoking a big Blunt standing around my bike.
Hey, hookers are people too!
At the time it was quite a weird place to be, high, talking with the working women of New Orleans about the economy, the area, the weather, etc....
They went on to work and I ended up shutting the bike down and going to bed. ( the bike did start back up after idling for an hour)...
Photography for me is not about recreating what I saw through
the viewfinder but to show people the way I want to see the world.
Lost Rider screwed with this post 12-19-2010 at 06:42 PM