Monday, September 01, 2008

Ride Report - The Grand Tetons - Day 3

Spent the day riding from Tremonton, UT where I overnighted in a Western Inn, to Centennial, CO. A total of 607 miles today of riding, 400 of them in light to heavy rain and wet superslab surfaces.

My rain gear held up fine, lost some time donning it and taking it off when appropriate, but riding in the rain is "interesting". I've not found any joy in it as I felt when I finally outran the storms that had rained on me from Utah all the way to 32 miles West of Laramie, WY. I'll not take dry road conditions for granted for quite some time I am sure!

I started riding in the pre-dawn darkness (it was already light but the storm clouds obscured everthing) with huge lightning strikes approaching and a rain already starting at 0705hrs. Seven hours and 400 miles later, the rain finally stopped as I left the storm front behind and beautifully dry and sunny conditions greeted me as I neared Laramie, WY at about 1419hrs. Two hours later I was home after tanking up for the last time on this trip. I am sure the folks at that gas station near Fort Collins, CO were wondering just how many layers I was stripping off while at the pump. Temperatures had climbed to the high 80s, but I wasn't complaining, feeling warm/hot felt good after being in the 40s most of the day.

It got as cold as 42.5 degrees as I rode through the rain and wind. Some pretty wicked wind gusts under sunny conditions near Laramie and Cheyenne. I am so glad it was not a combination of that kind of winds AND rain! That would have been more than "interesting".

Because my Motoport/Cycleport Kevlar Mesh gear vents so well, I ended up putting on long underwear, my rain pants liner, jeans, wind shirt, waterproof/insulated jacket liner and my electric vest with neck bib. Then and only then was I warm and snug as I rode along in the sometimes torrential rains. The only time I felt cold after that was when hit by the very strong wind gusts near Laramie.

The rain made for near blinding conditions at times when I was obligated to pass semi-tractor trailers which seemed to have spray mechanisms attached and going full bore as I passed them. Still, not bad if one just keeps steady and rides it out. The wind gusts and turbulence when it was windy and one is passing a big truck is quite another story, much more pucker factor involved until you learn to anticipate the rocking motion caused by the air coming off the truck and then leaning the motorcycle into the wind as you clear the truck, kind of like expecting then riding the bow wave of a large ship!

Note, I was not the only fool out there riding a motorcycle in inclement weather. Saw at least a dozen other riders out there. All types of marques were out, I was even passed by what seemed to be a 1150R Beemer going much faster than I was willing to do. He just waved and kept on going. Never did talk to him, he turned off soon after for gas and I kept going.

A total of 1647 miles ridden in the last three days, Maria did great as usual. I've reconfirmed that camping is not for me, too much of that in my Army days. I know my gear can do rain just fine and so can I for hours on end. I am going to have to get some waterproof overgloves though, wet gloves suck. Also, perhaps a one piece rainsuit that I can shrug into without much hassle.

No pics, sorry, was to busy keeping the motorcycle upright in the rain while maintaining speed.

1 comment:

Doug C said...

Rain riding is always interesting. Like you, I've not found it to be as enjoyable as some riders, though. Getting in and out of the rain gear is always a hassle. Like you, however, if I can maintain a modest amount of warmth, I'll ride on.

Rain always limits our pics, too. I suppose we could get a waterproof housing for the camera or maybe just a ziplock bag...

Great ride report!