Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Ride

I was alone on Thanksgiving Day this year. My better half had gone to Phoenix to visit his family and I had stayed home to prepare to cook my holiday meal for family and friends on Friday.

The sun was out and since I had no commitments, I had planned to take a long ride on my Vulcan. It was below freezing in the morning, so I kept watching the temps and waited until it got somewhere over 40 degrees before I would venture out on my ride.

Something came over me that has happened previously. As I watched the day warm and the frosty white rooftops in the neighborhood started to melt away, a feeling of doom and inner fear began to come over me. I could have easily not ridden that day, but I had looked forward to it. This time of year you have to take advantage of any dry days to get the motorcycles out and keep them running through the winter. I forced myself to go.

I put on my thermal bottoms under my heaviest riding jeans. I wore 2 heavy layers on top as well as my leather jacket with the winter lining in it. I had on my heaviest winter riding gloves, and a neck wrap tucked up over my chin and held there by my helmet strap. It was fine as I headed out.

As soon as I left home the feeling of dread left. I am getting more comfortable all the time with my new motorcycle, but still have to be careful with the handling on tight turns and the weight of the bike if I get it off balance. I headed north towards Lake Stevens off of Highway 9.

Traffic was lighter than usual by mid-day on Thanksgiving. I was comfortably warm for about 45 minutes into the ride. As I neared Lake Stevens I knew there were 3 or 4 turn-offs to get to the actual lake. There is a lovely road that encircles the lake and I thought that would be a beautiful place to ride that day and take pictures. Before I left home I had looked for my camera so I could take some photos of the lake with the snow-covered Cascade Mountains in the background. Apparently the camera had gone to Phoenix for the Holiday. I need a camera phone……..

I decided to take a particular road that turned off the highway and should have taken me somewhere in view of the lake. It didn’t. The road was scenic and headed due east and out into the countryside. I had no idea where I was or where it would take me. All of a sudden a state of panic started setting in. I came up to a stop sign and, not having a clue, I decided to go left. The road I was turning onto had a blind curve going both left and right, and I was taking a left onto a sharp incline up a hill. As I turned, I swung a little too wide and started to run off the road onto the gravel shoulder. I did keep the bike upright, kept going and corrected it back onto the roadway. During the whole thing I am muttering into my helmet, “Oh sh*t, oh sh*t, oh sh*t!” By then I continued on down that road, still not knowing where I was. I finally circled back and reached the highway I had originally been on, but had to take a right turn only which caused me to continue north. I wanted to go home…..

There was another exit a couple minutes up the road, so I turned off, got turned around and headed back home. By this time I was beginning to freeze. The cold had worked through my gloves and the fear and dread were taking the fun out of my ride.

I got home safely after riding about 1-1/2 hours. I think the fear I had was because my husband was out of town, and I was totally and completely on my own. Being out on a motorcycle puts you in a very vulnerable position. There would have been no one to call if I had had a problem. As it was, I was fine. I went home and had a stiff drink to warm up.

7 comments:

Linda R. Moore said...

Some rides are like that...it's often hard to distinguish between real dread and that inner voice that just spoils all your fun.

You seem to have a problem with this post btw--it looks like it was copied and pasted twice.

Glad you're safe to ride another day!

Becky said...

Thanks for the heads up Linda. I don't know how that happened, but it's fixed now.

Bikerchickz

Linda R. Moore said...

It sure is.

I think it happens because there is this thing called Murphy's Law ;)

iburyem said...

Becky,
Just found your blog from rippin-kitten's blog. Good stuff. It's hard to find blogs written by women about riding, I'll be back!

BiL said...

You can call me. I'll come and get you. Or help.

Rick said...

I have had that feeling a few times. I take it as a warning to be extra alert while I am riding.

mac said...

Becky, great blog and thx for the add on blogcatalog. Not a lot of female biker blogs out there so I'll add you to my list of sites on http://nwhog.wordpress.com/

cheers,
Mac