164.2 miles

Funke and I went out yesterday, enjoying one of the last nice days. We headed south to Nashville for some grub then head home. Thankfully, I had my hand guards installed (thanks DirtCrashr!) Without them, I wouldn't have made it much farther than a few miles. We tore down I65 and eventually to 135 which has some great curves and hills. It was pretty common to see flowers and crosses in those turns. Kinda unnerves you a bit.

After a while we hit Nashville and filled up on coffee and grub. Eating at restaurants is always challenging and a bit nerve racking for me, thanks to my stupid gluten intolerance. The bean soup proved to be safe and tasty. With full bellies, we headed out to hop on 45 towards Unionville where we met up with Funke's riding buddy.

Another cuppa joe at an amazing house tucked back in the woods and we were back on the road. By now, it's pitch black and a bit frosty outside. I tough it out and we navigate the twisties in the dark. We hit massive traffic in Bloomington and finally get out on 37 North. Control..., we have a problem. The faster I go, the more pressure my right guard puts on the brake lever, causing my brake light to stay on. We thought we had fixed this before we left. Now, it's night and really freaking unsafe.

I pass Funke and he tails me into another gas station. I'm starting to get pissed. My hands are cold, I'm hungry again and just wanna get home and warm up by the wood stove. I pull out my tool kit and start pulling off the guards. I can either try to secure the guard another way (no can do, forgot to pack my zip ties) or I can pull the wires for the front brake switch. With wires pulled, now I have to try to mount the guard again. All the while, thinking, "where the hell are my zip ties?". Oh, they're in my old tool kit that was packed for my CB750. Generous use of white electrical tape does it's job and we're geared up and ready to go. Crap....just like Randy in "Christmas Story", I have to pee. No more delays, I'll ride it out and stop when my hands go numb.

We make the rest of the trip with only one pitstop. The cold and hunger start to take their toll on my newly forming skills. Thankfully, the ride is uneventful. Once we're off the super slab, I start to get some feeling back in my digits. Wind guards and insulated gloves just can't cut it when it's 20-some degrees outside w/o calculating speed into the mix. I'll be adding heated grips and hard hand guards before the bike comes out of winter storage.

I know we got some strange looks ripping up 37 in the cold and dark. With my hands frozen into hooks, lips cracked and dry...I am alive. Aware of my existence, aware of the eventual dirt nap and everything in between. What an amazing night.


Tam said...

The handiest thing I found for winter commuting was a cheap-o rubber rainsuit.

I'd put it on about ten minutes before I headed out and between that and good arctic-weight gloves, I was fine for twenty-thirty minutes on the interstate before I started feeling miserable...

red said...

The only parts that got chilly were my hands. Thankfully, I got a good hi-viz jacket and lined riding pants, so overall I was toasty.

I tried to wedge some liners under my gloves but my fingers would have been useless. Plus too many layers can be as bad as not enough.