Ugh. I'd like to state for the record that Accuweather should be
forced to change their name to Inaccuweather.
I knew I was going to be escaping from work early Wednesday, so there
were two debates: to ride down to the San Fernando Valley (Los
Angeles) Wednesday night, or Thurday morning (about a 7-8 hour ride
down the 101), and whether to ride or drive. Well, Accuweather
reported that there would be light rain Friday, with the weekend
clear. Ok, I'm riding. I also decided to go down Wed night.
It was friggin cold Wednesday night. I was alright riding from
Sunnyvale to Salinas, but the sun went down as I was entering Salinas.
The temp dropped drastically as soon as the sun disappeared. So I
ate dinner at El Pollo Loco, and put on the warm weather gear. Well,
the ride down was fairly uneventful. I stopped for gas at Salinas,
Paso Robles, Santa Maria, and Ventura, and had to thaw out at every
stop. While filling up the tank, I put my gloves on the exhaust to
warm them up a bit. It didn't work too well, because my fingers still
went numb after about 15 minutes back in the saddle. I learned later
that temps through Paso Robles were in the high 30s, and the rest was
done in the lower 40s. For a Southern Californian, that's damned cold.
It was 394 miles down, and ended up taking me 7.5 hours with the
defrosting stops. Other than the cold, it was a great ride. I love
the Shadow for touring, but I'm definitely getting a windshield. My
butt wasn't the least bit tired after all that time.
The trip back was much less fortunate. The weatherman called for
increasing cloudiness, but no rain until Tuesday. BS. I left at
about 9:45. The ride back to San Luis Obispo was beautiful. While
eating lunch at an IHOP there, a couple was talking about the
torrential downpour they had going through Paso Robles (about 30 miles
north of SLO), so I decided to take the coastal route along PCH. I
know the weather comes in from the coast but, because there wasn't
supposed to be any rain to begin with, I hoped it was just a localized
storm to PR. Well, I rode for about 40 miles before I hit the
twisties and the rain. It wasn't too bad, but it rained on me from
Hearst Castle, just north of San Simeon, to Pfeifer Big Sur, just
south of Monterey. It was getting dark as I continued through to
Monterey, but it cleared up, and looked like the weather was getting
It started to pour as I blasted through Santa Cruz toward Sunnyvale,
across the 17 freeway. Big mistake. I should have stayed in a hotel
in Santa Cruz. When I approached the top of the mountain, I couldn't
see a thing. I almost slid into the wall at the side of the freeway,
and there is no shoulder for most of the trip. I had to lift my visor
because it kept fogging up and, in the process of clearing it, my
glasses got soaked, so they started fogging up. Damn, that sucked.
Fortunately, traffic was only moving about 35-40 miles an hour, so I
survived the trip.
I was ecstatic to make it through the worst part of the rain, as the
Silicon Valley side of the mountain is somewhat sheltered, so I
blasted home. Well, after all the slipping/sliding/recovering I did
on the 17, I slipped at an intersection and dropped the bike in
Sunnyvale. That's damned embarassing. A nice guy helped me pick it
back up. I was fortunate. It didn't even scratch the bike as far as
I can tell.
Well, that's the last time I ride in the rain, at least with my Bell
M3. That helmet sucks in the wet. My HJC is MUCH better at sheeting
off the rain and staying fog free. I'm going to look into an anti-fog
device of some sort for the Bell, though, because it's more
comfortable than the HJC.
All the while I just kept thinking about the fact that what doesn't
kill us, makes us stronger. I'm very happy that I learned to ride on
a dirtbike. If I hadn't, the gyrations of the Shadow would have ended
much less pleasantly. It's not the bike's fault, though. The roads
were just too slippery. I passed two or three accidents on the 17.
Ugh. Time to stay home.
'85 GPz900 - Red, black, gunmetal grey, amongst others.
'96 Shadow 1100 - Yellow and White.
'82 XL250R - Sorta black and red.