Well, one day after getting the bike out of storage, the weather was good and I had no excuse to not take the bike to my afternoon class. Mind you, this class is about 90 miles away.
Getting ready to head out, I had forgotten everything I need to remember before taking a significant ride. Chaps, gloves, glasses, etc. And I was kind of in a hurry to leave because I didn’t want to have to hurry on the road. Decided to strap on the tool bag to the front fork and shove the rain gear in the backpack. Headed off to my favorite bar for lunch before hitting the road. (And while I was there I got to witness Twins player Denard Span hit his mom with a foul ball. Yikes!)
Headed north on the Interstate and once again found myself settling in around 60-65mph. Speed limit is 75mph, but the bike seemed stiff after the long winter and maybe I was too. So just took my time and enjoyed the scenery. Amazing to think that just two or three weeks ago there was still deep snow on the ground. There’s a rest area halfway along the journey, so I stopped there to take a breather. Had a pretty good crosswind I was dealing with (later found out it was about 35mph) and that was making my shoulders tight. Plus the rest areas have free wifi, so I jumped on the net to catch up with things. Funny how riding can start up conversations. Sitting in the rest area with the laptop on my lap and lady asked if I was traveling home for Easter. I explained I was just taking a short trip for a class, but we got to talking just a bit. She had noticed the wind too.
And another thing I had noticed by now was that my sunglasses from last year were not going to work. The foam along the edges that keeps out wind and dust had come loose from the frame and just would not stick. So for part of the journey I had a piece of foam in my field of vision that was getting quite annoying and possibly dangerous. Good thing I had strapped on the tool bag, because that’s where I keep my spare pair of clear, nighttime glasses. Decided to swap them out. I don’t like the clear pair as well, but they were going to be better than the flapping foam.
After a brief rest, it was back on the road for the second half. Bike and I were loosening up a bit, but still not up to speed. About 20 miles down the road though, an RV passed me and the winds swirling around that thing nearly knocked the glasses off my face. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like them, they just don’t fit that well. Well, I decided to pull up the next exit ramp (Reynolds) to adjust them a bit before continuing on.
Got to Grand Forks with enough time to look for the Harley dealership up there. Always wanted to stop by, but never had gotten to town early enough before to make the trip. Now I was in need of new glasses so I had a good excuse too. Found it without too much trouble, but only because I know a little bit about getting around up there. They really need to improve their billboard’s directions. Walked in and there were a few folks there. Small place, but it had what you need. No one paid me any attention, but I found what I was looking for. Of course, all the glasses were over $100, so it was a no-go for me. Did find a strap to put on my current pair, and picked that up hoping it would help. Funny thing too about that place. Parking lot was full of cars/trucks. I was the only bike in the lot. And such a beautiful day too. (Read into that what you want.)
Went and gassed up before heading over to the university. Parked in my usual visitors lot and even was a good girl and paid the parking meter. Was supposed to stick the receipt on my dash. ??? Stuck it under a cable somewhere. Whatever. I had a clear conscience. But as I was looking for a spot to stick the receipt, I noticed that my tool bag was hanging on by only one strap (instead of two). Yikes!!! Got that fixed up right away.
Luckily for me, class got out a half-hour early. I had gassed up before class because I knew I’d be racing the sunset home. I’ve not ridden much in the dark yet, and twilight can always be dicey. So I hit the road and headed south. Not much interesting happened on the first half of the journey. Once again, I stopped at the rest area just to shake loose and stretch a bit, and put a bandanna over my disgusting hair. Was a quick stop though as the sun was getting lower in the sky. The second half of the ride home I finally got loose and started hitting 70+mph. Maybe it was the traffic, maybe it was the sunset, and maybe it just took 150 miles or so to get reacquainted with the bike. The ride felt good, except it was a bit chilly by the time I got home. And the last 20 miles or so was riding through flooded fields so the water made the temp drop even further. Saw only a few other bikes on the road. Well, actually none on the ride up and only a handful on the way home. Plenty in towns, but few in-between.
Decided to ride through town as I just wanted to take a break from the wind for a bit. Always a challenge for me to stop at that first light/sign after coming off an Interstate ride. Kinda stiff and never quite sure the hands/feet are working properly. Got home within 15 minutes of sunset so not so bad.
Glad I rode the bike to class. Had no excuses not to, and no regrets that I did.
(However, as I’m writing this the next day, I’d forgotten how physical riding actually is. Muscles are a bit stiff today. And I can tell you which way the wind was blowing by which arm hurts more. 🙂 )
P.S. Helmet. Yesterday I wore my helmet to pick up my bike. In only the 20 minute trip across town it was already getting painful. Apparently I just cannot wear that thing anymore. Need to find a new one. Soon. Could have used it for the trip to Grand Forks. Would have helped keep me warm a bit and helped the glasses situation too.
Odometer: 5228 miles