Had a nice long rest last night, but had a rude awakening when I set out for today's ride.
The parking lot was COVERED in snow and ice when I first stepped out around 6am. I decided to delay my departure for a few hours in hopes that the sun and salt would improve things a bit.
The sun did not want to shine, however, and so after a few annoying pesters by Ester the cleaning lady, I decided to clear out and make a go of it.
I got all geared up and ready to go. The bike started beautifully. I began to pull through the parking lot when I realized I was missing something... my sunglasses! I had taken them off and placed them on the pillion seat when I put the helmet on (second time I have done this since I began riding). I craned my neck and saw them lying on the ground. I was quickly running out of real estate to maneuver around, and most of it was still solid or melting ice. I made a decision to try and pull a slow-speed u-turn in what I hoped would be a dry spot... and well you can guess the rest of this story.
The beautiful thing about the GS is that between the Jesse bags and Hepco & Becker crash bars this bike comes to rest on its side quite gracefully. The problem was not the 600lb bike on its side, the problem was the immense sheet of ice the entire parking lot proved to be. Every time I tried to raise the bike it would either slide away from me, or I would slide into it. After a minute or two a thought occurred to me: this bike ain't going no where, but my $150 Oakley's are still sitting on the parking lot.
About the time a small Honda hatchback pulled into the parking lot. It pulled around me and sped off without even slowing down, and I swear I saw the driver mouth the words "sucks to be you" as he and his buddy passed by. A few moments later I decided to leave the bike and go pick up my glasses. I ran around the corner of the hotel...
and they were gone.
I walked around my former parking spot and the surrounding areas several times. I can only imagine those guys spotted the glasses on the ground, thought about me and the bike around the corner, and put two and two together.
I returned to the bike and proceeded to drag it approximately 10 feet until it was in a spot with enough melted ice that both the tires and my feet could get a good grip. Magically it came up in no time, and I was off again.
Two things happened as a result of this mishap: 1) I realized too late that I left without taking any pictures of this otherwise comical early morning exercise, 2) I decided to change my route from the twisties to the slab. Between the miserable cold, ice and snow EVERYWHERE, and completely grey cloudy conditions, I decided Adventure would have to be spelled I-81, at least for today.
So, for the next five hours I did not get off the bike once (I tend to fill up on the bike, and get right back on the road). My layers and heated grips did their job well, and thankfully the traffic on the highway was decent. 80mph in 35 degree weather for five hours does take its toll though, so I decided to stop in for a break before getting to my hotel in Charlotte. Funny thing, the bike just sort of navigated itself to this location...
Am I a real GS owner yet?
I didn't start shivering until I got inside. I think the sudden change in ambient temperature shocked my body and reminded it that I had actually been freezing for most of the day. I promptly made for the men's restroom and made good use of their free body heater.
AKA a hand dryer.
Five minutes of this blowing down my shirt and I was starting to thaw out nicely.
After a decent break I headed back to the slab and drove the remaining hour until I reached Charlotte.
Obligatory self-portrait in front of the bike.
As soon as I walked into the hotel I was reminded of what I had learned in flight school, that the most difficult periods of flight are take offs and landings. So it was today. The trip itself was completely uneventful. But when I arrived at my hotel I was greeted by two grown women standing at the front desk in full-body pink polka dot footie pajamas, going on and on about how they couldn't get their cell phones to connect to the wireless internet. The receptionist was doing her best to explain that they needed to enter a password, but didn't know exactly how to do it on their model of phones. Meanwhile these two women (GROWN middle aged women, mind you) went on and on about cell phone companies and the government and this and that... all while I stood there, gear laden, frozen red cheeks, waiting to simply receive my room key so I could collapse in peace. I would have taken their picture to include here, but they seemed very unstable (hello, footie PJ's at 2:30pm on grownups???) so I chose to remain in silent protest.
20 minutes later (not kidding) I made my way to the elevator, only to be joined by a man who's sweat pants hung so loose on his hips you could almost see his knees. He promptly started a conversation with me about how "sloppy-Z is gonna play tonight; its gonna be dope, yo!". I remained silent and prayed for the elevators doors to open. When they did, I was greeted by this:
What in the world is that on the wall!?!
Thankfully the room was a bright spot in the otherwise black hole of weirdness I had apparently descended into.
Ironically the sun, which had hidden behind nasty grey skies all day long began to peek through just when I arrived in the room.
It was a long ride in tough conditions today, so I was content to just sit here in silence for almost an hour.
Tomorrow threatens 30-40 degrees and rain all the way to Atlanta...
No one said adventure is always pleasant, right?