Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Jumping off from Waterbury, Vermont

Mr. Big Pants "posing" by his more diminutive, less manly BMW. After about 150 miles of riding in the rain today, we've taken comfort in a Comfort Inn, in Drummondville, Quebec.

10:00 p.m.

Neither Jeff nor I were in any great hurry to begin the ride this morning. This time, the steady sound of rain was not particularly welcome. Weather forecasts called for this storm to pass through within the next 24 hours. It was just a question of how much we could avoid by postponing our departure (though neither admitted we were trying to postpone it.) Heading north, it seemed that we should miss much of it. Nothing left for us to do but mount up.

“Damn it!” Jeff exclaimed as he started up his bike. “What’s this? I’ve never seen it before.” He pointed to the yellow warning lamp on his display.

“It’s the low fuel warning…” So, our first stop was the gas station. This was his first opportunity to ride his bike loaded with gear. I also had to re-adjust to riding with all this “stuff.”

Refusing to believe that the rain might persist, I wore my Aerostich suit, which is good for about a half hour in steady rain. (I carry a Gore-Tex coat and pants that could be pulled over the Aerostich for those times I accept that it’s going to keep raining.)

Jeff led the way, since he’s well familiar with Vermont’s backroads. We drove north on state highway 100, winding through the countryside, passing through towns every few miles.

“This would be a lovely ride on a sunny day, but why the hell are we meandering along today, in this pouring rain???”

“Why is he passing those cars? They’re already well over the speed limit?”

“Thanks for giving me a two-second warning before that turn, you idiot.”

“Do you know you just ran that red light??? What were you thinking!”

“I want coffee. Where’s a ‘Tim Horton’s’?”

I had a pretty lively monologue going on inside my helmet. It may take a little while to get used to sharing the ride with another person.

After three hours of constant rain, I was saturated in several areas, and we were both getting a chill. Pulled into Drummondville, a city Jeff knows well. He frequently inspects motor carriers in this area. Waddled into “Tim Horton’s”, water dripping from our suits, the air conditioning just exacerbating the chill. Sat drinking coffee, staring out at the gray skies. “I think it’s lifting,” I said hopefully.

We discussed whether to continue riding or take a room here in town. Jeff weighed in with all the arguments for staying put.

Checked into the Comfort Inn. Laid out all our gear and suits to dry out.

Dinner at “Tim Horton’s” – “at least it’s within your budget,” he said.

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