Friday, August 8, 2014

Genesis 6:18

...The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth.

Hester Ready to Roll

This 680 mile riding day couldn't have started or ended any better.  There were, however, about 450 miles in between that could have used some improvement.  Leaving the Dallas area around 4:30am, the predawn darkness revealed crystal clear skies, no wind, and the weather was comfortably warm.  It was a perfect long t-shirt day.  My arrival in Franklin, Kentucky eleven hours later was under blue skies with puffy white pillow-like clouds, a light breeze, and the same perfect warm riding temperature.  Things got interesting, however, as I rode east of Little Rock.  The temperature dropped significantly, winds were gusting, and the swollen skies were threatening like a low hanging gray blanket.  I decided to use the trick most riders do to all but guarantee that the rain will stop.  I pulled over and donned my rain suit.   That guarantee wasn’t worth the paper this blog is printed on, if it were printed.  The skies opened up in what seemed like Biblical proportions and they didn’t dry up until Franklin, Tennessee (not to be confused with Franklin, KY).

During the rainy day ride, I kept myself entertained listening to Neil Peart’s book Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road.  For the musically unwashed, Neil Peart has been the Drummer for the band Rush for 40 years.  The book details a period of temporary retirement in the mid 90s after his wife and daughter died tragically within a year of each other.  A real pick me up, right!?  Peart mounted his BMW sport touring motorcycle and rode over 55,000 miles over a three year period, alone.  It’s a fascinating account, written with the same gift for prose found in so many of the Rush tunes that Peart authored over the years.  I’ve been a fan of his writing for years, but had never read the book.  I loved his descriptions of places I had ridden on my Alaskapade adventure.  I kept saying out loud to myself , “I remember that!”

When the rain started pouring really hard, I pulled under an overpass and stopped to check the weather radar app on my phone.  This wasn’t going to be a passing shower.  The storm was sweeping from west to east and appeared to be growing in intensity.  It was clear that sitting this one out was not the answer.  I decided I needed something more entertaining than a story about someone else riding a motorcycle to keep me focused.  I pulled up the Slayer folder in my GPS unit’s mp3 player and set the mood with “Raining Blood”.  I’m not a huge Slayer fan, but I appreciate some of their music and it does get your attention.  In my case it actually accelerates my pulse.  Most importantly though, it makes me alert and given the crappy road conditions and cagers’ lack of patience, I needed all the help I could get.  Once I made it past the lines of truckers and other slothful vehicles, it was just another day in the rain with pretty much open roads ahead of me until the clouds broke.  I decided that I had all the Slayer I needed (for a lifetime, probably) and shifted gears to Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever album.  Actually, going from Slayer to Petty isn’t just shifting gears.  It’s like dropping your bike into first gear at 80mph and popping the clutch.  But I digress.

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner all-in-one at the Awful Waffle
Despite the rain, I pulled into my hotel a couple of hours earlier than I anticipated.  I would have just kept riding for another few hundred miles were it not for the fatigue I was feeling after the eight hour rain ride and the fact that I'm cashing in hotel points along my route and didn't want to waste the ones I spent on this hotel.  No worries.  Early dinner and early to bed.  It's not like I got much sleep last night.

I ride 760 miles to the  Washington DC area tomorrow; hopefully in drier weather!