|01-02-2011, 07:48 PM||#1|
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: S.E. Washington PNW
A Cold Day in Heaven.....
This first ride of the year was inspired by a RTE posted on the LDrider mailing list.
My adventure begins in Pasco, WA where I reside. I attended a New Years get together with family and friends and get to sleep at about 12:30AM, with my alarm set for 4:10AM. I woke up startled to hear my wife moving about and glanced at the clock 5:03AM...........crap this isn't starting off very well........I shot out of bed and scrambled to get geared up, I had wanted to be on the road at 4:30AM. The weather forecast was calling for clear calm conditions and cold, the classic mid winter high pressure system with cold air from the great north covering our region. I rolled the R1150GS out of the garage a little after 5:15 with my digital thermometer reading 30 (all temps in deg F)............... in the garage, and 9.8 outside. I am outfitted (from the inside out) with LDC long underwear, covered with another set of thermals top and bottom, Gerbing electric jacket liner, and thinsulate liner over that, all covered up by my AeroStich RoadCrafter. On my feet are two different socks, thick winter sock on the right foot and thin athletic wicking sock on my left as I twisted my ankle and my left is quite swollen, stuffed inside my Aerostich Combat Boots with Gerbing heated insoles. My hands are covered by Eagle Leather gauntlet uninsulated gloves with REI liners (with metal woven in to conduct heat) My bike is outfitted with heated grips and a Warm&Safe temptroller. The first leg of my trip takes me from the Tri-Cities south on 395, through Umatilla/Irrigon , OR tying into I-84 near Boardman, OR. and on to Biggs Junction for my first real stop. The temps have been creeping into the lower teens and the eastern sky has started to glow. My feet and legs are very cold and I finish this leg only out of sheer determination, alternating holding my feet against the back /bottom side of my cylinders for warmth, letís you guys do that on your FJRs. Every responsible brain cell is telling me that I should turn around and hightail it for home, but the rest are telling me that the sun is rising and it has to be warmer to the west. I get off the bike in Biggs and take a frozen Cliff Bar inside to eat with a cup of hot cocoa. As I stand at the urinal trying to find my way through the layering I discover that the plug for my boot insoles had come unplugged and my feet had not had any active heating. I sit down in the Flying J McD's and consume my breakfast bar and cocoa while looking at the I-phone Accuweather radar ahead. I see virtually the only band of rain on the map is between Eugene and Florence, surely it will be gone by the time I get there, and snow showers behind me (which I hadn't seen, the sky's were clear?) I had a bail out plan should I reach Portland and decide to end the trip, so I figured I would push on. I remounted the GS and plugged in my gear, of which the plugs inside were now taped together, and headed west with the sun beginning to show some presence in my mirrors. The flow of electrons to my boots was a huge relief, the insoles were now performing their duties and the temps became tolerable, I start to think I just might make it after all. The ride from Biggs through Portland are uneventful with the exception of some gusty winds between Hood River and Troutdale and the lack of traffic the whole way, mixed with the gradual climb of the digital thermometer toward freezing. I am in a hurry to get to some better temps, and make it into Florence before everyone else leaves (I am 40 minutes late starting out) and push slightly over the speed limit trusting my Escort 8500 to tell me to slow down should the situation call for it. I pass very few cars, which is strange for this stretch of road. I fuel up near Tigard and continue my trek south down I-5 and it is there that I begin to see a few OSP cars, no more making up time, but the GPS is saying I have 10 minutes to spare..........sweet. I exit I-5 into Eugene, OR and duck into BMW of Western OR to see if they or the discount shop behind them are open, hoping they might feel pity on me and sell me some heated gloves but to no avail, my hands would continue to be the weakest link in my battle against the cold. It's a mild 35 or so in Eugene and dips as I climb the coastal range. The roads show signs of the rain I had seen earlier and as the altitude climbs and the temps dip lower it is apparent that the ďrainĒ was a mix of freezing rain and/or hail. The road is mostly just wet with a few spots of frozen stuff in the shadows and on the shoulders. Cresting the summit and beginning my descent to the coast the temp hovers right at freezing and begins to slowly inch higher as I approach the coast. I arrive at Moís with at 1155, park in front of a swarm of farlked and aux. tanked FJRs, make my way inside and migrate toward the group of AeroStich adorned fellows sitting at a long table, none of whom I had ever met. I ordered a dose of hypothermia relieving hot coffee followed by clam chowder and garlic bread. With very little for introductions and only brief small talk, I didnít feel like I made much of a connection with most in attendance, but Iím sure they will remember me as the new guy, that must have really wanted to come join them for lunch. For those of you that were there, Iím sure we will meet again; Iíll be at the 1088 if we donít cross paths before then.
For my return leg, I traveled north along the coast in the balmy 45-49 deg temps before turning east through McMinnville and back across 84 to 395 again battling lane swapping wind gusts between Troutdale and Hood River, and an ever descending reading on the thermometer, most of the return trip was a mix of low 30s and 20s with it dropping into the teens east of The Dalles and the lowest I saw was 11.3 dropping back into Kennewick, it was 15 when I pulled the bike into the garage at 8:45PM. My trip saw me ride some 763 miles in 12 hours and 31 minutes of moving time. I consumed 2 Cliff bars, 1 cup of hot cocoa, 2 cups of coffee, 1 bowl of chowder, 2 slices of bread, 2 bottles of water.
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