Bad news… Good news…
The bad news is that I still have an overwhelming smell of gasoline coming from the bike. But that’s the ONLY bit of bad news about Margarita. The other bit of unfortunate news is that Karen G. (new rider I’ve befriended) wasn’t feeling well Saturday and so had to cancel our ride together.
The good news list is much longer. Saturday I attended the Street Cycles (local Triumph dealer) open house. Reconnected with Bill C. Hadn’t seen him since my days in the early 1990s hanging out at the northern New England AMA flat-track races. How is it he’s not aged? No gray hair? Must be
the six of seven bikes in his garage! Evie came up to meet me there and we had a nice visit. I was able to notarize something she needed. Handy.
Saturday night I attended a surprise 50th birthday and welcome home from Afghanistan party for my high school classmate Dave S. I sat at the BEHS table with Wynn (yes, she was also my ‘date’ for our 30th reunion last year), Kyle & Shelly, Dan & Patty, Alan & Diane and Tami and Jack. Professionally DJed by Dennis with karaoke to boot. OMG – it was so good to get a birthday hug from Dave and see him with his lovely wife Renee and their children. Every month while Dave was deployed I sent Renee to get a massage. The first one Wynne co-funded with me … and then I decided to keep doing it each month.
I was blown away Dave’s recognition of my gift to Renee. The two of them got me all teared up.I had such a great time hanging out with my BEHS Class of 1982 friends that I didn’t get home until nearly 10.
How could I leave Alan singing Dean Martin and Wynn Patsy Kline? Dennis’ wife has an amazing voice as well. Too much fun.
NOTE TO SELF: get you butt out of the house to more of Dennis’ karaoke nights and get the BE folks to show up.
I had the bike all packed up and ready for Sunday.
Sunday I left the house at 7:20 and headed south to Rich’s place.
Left his place at about 8 and headed north up Route 1 to Waldoboro and then out 220, across 17 then 3/1 into Belfast and up across the Hancock bridge into Bucksport and then out 46 to 9 (the Airline Road) all the way up to Calais.
Strangest thing seen en route: In Eddington saw a guy (grandfatherly running, pushing a jogging stroller) running barefoot.
Strangest thing someone said to me: Where: at the Irving station in Baileyville as I’m filling up. What: He’s shoving some jelly-filled pastry into his mouth and wanders over and reads what it says on the bike, “Triumph Tiger 955i – so what is that like about 600 cc?” I very politely replied, “Nope, it’s 955 cc.”
Great ride up – perfect weather. Got into Amherst, Nova Scotia at about 7 PM. A bit chilled and tired. Tried to find a B&B. Pulled into one, but they were closed. I knew I was tired when not once, but twice I tried to start the bike with my horn. (For those who don’t ride – horn in on the left, starter is on the right.) Road fatigue.
With the temperature dropping and Pugwash still 45 km away we headed a mile west to West Amherst to a place next to Hwy 2. It was expensive, but clean. The restaurant had just closed … so Rich had a protein bar, I had a can of smoked kippers and we shared my flask of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey and called it a night.
LESSON #13: No matter how hard I try I can neither blow my nose or apply lip balm with my helmet on.
Woke up Monday early brought Rich coffee and OJ while he was still in the room. We took a walk to get the blood moving and loosen up our backs while the dew soaked bikes waited for us. We grabbed a bite to eat and were on the road by 7:30. Temps were in the low 40s and it was very foggy. Had to stop a few times and have Rich clear my visor for me. As we headed back toward New Brunswick it stayed foggy and then the temperature started to really drop. There was evidence of a hard freeze in the fields and in the median. 32 degrees F, then it dipped to 28 degrees. Hard to believe I wasn’t cold riding at those temperatures. I didn’t have my long underwear or fleece pants under my riding pants. I did have on my winter riding gloves and my grip heaters were blasting on high. Felt good. I didn’t put my balaclava on as I want to wait until I get out west and it’s really cold before I spoil myself with that. Rich has a heated jacket – if the cold out west proves too much I may invest in one.
The fog cleared, the temperature rose and by 10 it was really nice. By 11:30 when we crossed back into the States it was in the upper 50s and were shedding layers and putting on mid-weight gloves. Waved goodbye to Rich where 27 heads north in Wiscasset and drove home. Pulled in at 5 PM. 850 miles in two days if I include the mileage from my house to Rich’s yesterday. Not bad for a weekend’s riding.
LESSON #14: In 28 degrees F, at highway speeds, on the TransCanada Hwy 2 those heated grips that felt like they were burning my hands on low in summer gloves back in September felt pretty darn good on high today through my winter gloves! I wasn’t cold and wasn’t even wearing long underwear or fleece pants under my lined riding pants. Had tights on under my lined Taos River Road riding pants. Had a turtleneck, a Patagonia Capliene 3/4 zip, a fleece pullover and the First Gear jacket that Gregg gave me for my birthday. Toasty – who thought I could ride for an hour or two with the temps varying from low 40s to 28 and not be too cold?