Rain, rain... Weíve been outrunning the bad weather for the entire trip (quite skillfully I might add!), but with it advancing at us from three directions we now have no choice but to face it. The final day of our ďChristmas of DeathĒ ride will be a cold, wet one.
Ahhh, so THIS is where we slept! Seems like a nice little place.
We are appreciative of the roof where we can pack up our gear without it getting all wet. (yes, it is raining in these pics)
I love my gear. So many miles, and so many adventures have honed my ďrigĒ that I feel ready for nearly any condition that might arise, and Lady Firebird has her shit together too! But I just canít help it: As with so many of us that partake in this crazy hobby we canít just leave well enough alone! We must, must keep tinkering, modifying, searching for that perfect bit of kit that will elevate us to the sublime pinnacle of riding nirvana...
Or something like that.
The rain-suit has been a focus point for me as of late. Iíve never been a fan, and frankly donít understand, the trend of these high-end motorcycle suits that have waterproof liners UNDER the suit itself. Why? I mean, yeah, great, my skin is dry, but after a heavy rain I now have a soggy one-hundred pound buffalo hide clinging to my body that leaves puddles if I go inside a building/home. And while camping what do I DO with this soggy carcass while I sleep? I certainly donít want it in the tent with me. Hang it in a tree to continue to get rained on? What if it freezes solid and I canít get in it? And donning cold wet cordura first thing in the morning doesnít sound like a very nice way to spend the day... Plus it will take hours to dry out.
So, from day one with my fancy RevíIt suit the liners have lived in a bag in my closet and Iíve opted to wear over-suits, which admittedly also have short comings, but keep me and my clothes largely separated from the rain. Call me crazy, but isnít that the point??
Very early on in my motorcycling I bought a first generation Froggs-Toggs suit at Cabelaís after being attracted to its breathable and packable qualities, but soon abandoned it because it wasnít motorcycle engineered. It was geared more to hunters/hikers and wasnít up to the task of 70 mph water deflection (closures, hood, ankle cuffs, etc). ďIf they ever design one with the motorcyclist in mind...Ē I said to myself.
Lo and behold, they did, and I bought for this trip! Hi-Viz green even! (Iíve also never understood why one would want a black or grey rain suit on a motorcycle. Yikes! Iím all for matchy-matchy and looking good on the ride, but in the rain survival definitely takes priority for this rider!) Today it gets tested, and thoroughly.
Rain, rain rain. After knocking out a hundred miles or so our hot meal and warm-up session for the day is this absolutely charming eatery in Benson Arizona: The Horseshoe Cafe.
We pull a good laugh as we breech the door as all the local heads turn to look at the soggy dogs slinking in. Weíre shouting as our earplugs are still installed but despite this we quickly develop a rapport with the owners who are super friendly. We apologize for the mess we are creating on their floor, and let them know we plan on staying for a while, longer than the typical meal. ďThatíll be just fine, make yourselves comfortable!Ē is the best response we were hoping for!
Home-town cooking, damn I love it! Yum yum, and the hot coffee keeps on coming. I definitely recommend this place.
We chat, look at maps, talk to the locals, debate the weather, and let a couple hours pass. Eventually we run out of excuses and have to go back out into the chilly rain for the final leg back to southern Arizona.
I swear it has gotten colder. The idea of killing time was that it would be warmer out here! Dang it. We never turn the heated vests off and are wearing every darn layer we can, but this chill canít be outrun. Eventually we are forced onto the interstate system (blech), and sure enough end up in a construction zone with both feet down in the middle of nowhere for a good long while, which leads to a situation I was really hoping to avoid: rush-hour traffic in Phoenix, in the dark, in the rain. Oh, and tired too. Yay. Welcome back to ďcivilization!Ē
Itís about this time the Froggs-Toggs starts failing. Maybe itís okay for an hour or two of light to moderate rain, but the all day hose-fest is showing the weaknesses. I can feel my lower torso getting damp and cold, then downright wet, and my hiking boots are filling with ice water (which is no fault of the suit). We just want to get home, and the last two hours to Tucson are torturous. Iím shivering, but short of stopping for a hotel (no way!) there is really nothing to be done but pound it out.
After pushing the bike into the yard L.F. opens the door for me and I hop into the bathtub to take off the gear and pour out my boots as not to get water all over the floor.
What a ride!
So yeah, Froggs-Toggs = fail in my opinion. Firebird was dry and warm in her Tourmaster plastic over suit, only cold feet in her hiking boots like me. Her smug grin says it all.
Someday Iíll learn... Thrill of the chase, eh fellas?
I think there will be a nice New Yearís dinner for us as a reward for a trip well done! Lobster, hand-made pasta, cheese and wine...