Thursday, July 22, 2010

How Do I Roll the Windows Up on This Thing?

After a few days with no motorcycle while the battery was being charged and saddlebag brackets were being installed I was happy a couple days ago to have my bike back for my daily commute.  Being the cheap guy I am I had put the saddlebags on without a bracket, but once one of them had a hole rubbed in it from contact with the rear tire (which is impressive, considering they are made of leather) I decided the bracket was a necessary accessory.  It turns out I would have been better off taking the car.

When I arrived at work, I decided to take my helmet in, rather than leave it with the bike, since there was a good chance of rain in the afternoon.  As I rounded a corner approaching the building I scraped the faceshield against a brick wall, leaving three nice permanent scars on the visor.  The drive home would cause me to forget about this mild annoyance.  A meeting kept me at work almost two hours late, by which time a nice storm had brewed up.  At least I didn't know until the next day that there was a tornado watch at the time.

Fortunately the poor weather was still travelling my way when I got to my bike, allowing me to gear up with my water-proof jacket liner and pants.  I knew my leather gloves and boots wouldn't hold the water out for long, but at least the majority of me would be nice and dry.  This proved to be true as the rain and intermittant hail pelted me until about halfway home, when I realized the water was running down my jacket liner and down between the waist of my rain pants and my body.  The thing that clued me in was the unmistakable feeling that my underwear was slowly filling up with water.  If you've not felt this sensation it is a disturbing one.  Especially when you are travelling at 60 miles an hour 20 minutes from home and there's nothing you can do to stop it.

I decided to alter my route by taking a country road that adds a few miles and about 5 minutes to the ride, but would keep me away from a low lying hilly road that I suspected would be flooded due to the volume of rain.  As the road approached a town 5 miles from my house I realized I could stop by and visit a friend from work who lived there and get out of the rain until the worst of it passed.  Of course, this would add another 10 minutes to the ride overall, but I could get out of the rain sooner.  My boots now had standing water sloshing in them, and my hands were soaked, as well as my bottom, so I decided to go for the "longer to get home but out of this weather sooner" option.  I was quite happy as I pulled up and rang the doorbell.  I could hear the yellow lab barking on the other side.  And barking.  And barking.  Nobody but the dog was home.  Back on the bike and another 15 minutes of soaked riding in front of me.  Not cool.

As I finally got near my house, the rain was coming down so hard it was running across the road in sheets.  I saw a deeper section in time to let off the gas, but not to brake.  As I hit it the force of the wave shooting up from my tire actually forced my feet of the pegs and felt like someone hit my feet with a two by four.  I was just happy the bike stayed stable.  I slowed down a bit more after that.  A few minutes later and I was home and wringing the water out of my socks.  Some dry clothes and love from a hair dryer and all was well again in my world.