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A Good Friend and a Soggy Day


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I think Laney and I are a bad influence...on each other.


I wanted to veg all day...maybe ride. She wanted to ride, after getting a new tire on the SV650. So she convinces me to meet her there so we can go ride before it gets rainy (supposed to start raining in the afternoon).


Morning breaks and it's raining. Lots.


I think "Well...I KNOW that darn monkey will just laugh at me if I don't show. OK, I'll just show up and say hi."


The look on my neighbor's face as I rolled the bike out in the rain was priceless. smile.gif I made my way to the local Suzuki place and arrived just before Laney did. I bought my Bandit from this dealership, and they're also a SeaDoo dealer, so they know me well. I got some funny looks...yeah...even from the folks at the dealership. These guys (and girl) aren't long distance riders or anything, but they ARE riders. Still...they don't "get" what it is that we do. I come in and talk about our latest adventure to Utah or Colorado or whatever...I get mostly blank stares. Today, they REALLY thought we were nuts. smile.gif


After a few minutes, Laney strolled in dripping water everywhere and wearing a big grin. We chatted for a while, then walked back to the service bay to watch them finish installing the tire.


We decided that the rainsoaked streets were probably not the best environment to scuff in a new rear tire, so we zipped back to Laney's place to swap Jake for the RT. We decided to head over to Live Oak Canyon and go out to Cook's Corner (local biker hangout) to see what was stirring there, make fun of the "bikers" who show up in cars, and grab some burgers. cool.gif


Live Oak is a nice canyon road and I do it fairly often. My favorite time to do it is in the middle of the night because there's almost zero possibility of encountering any cars. Live Oak does not lend itself to passing, so if you get stuck behind someone who will not pull over, you're pretty much there for the long haul.


I've done Live Oak a few times after a rain, so I knew that the rain tends to wash mud and stuff across the road in places. One particular corner, a very tight 180 degree right-hand downhill hairpin tends to get crap on it at the absolute worst place. I cautioned Laney about the possibility of junk in the road, then we set out.


On the way to Live Oak, we parallel Tijeras Creek as we travel up towards Saddleback Mountain. My house is over here, so I know the area very well, but I don't recall it being this pretty before. The hills are a lush green and there are a few wildflowers popping up here and there. In the low overcast, it looks like pictures I've seen of Ireland. It's really quite pretty. The sunlight normally washes out all these great colors, so it's really interesting to see it in this light.


We crossed Live Oak at a pace that was borderline hooning for the conditions...slowing down and keeping the bikes as upright as possible as we crossed through the water and mud in the road. I was having a real blast and it was great having that big blue RT in my mirrors the whole time. We eased down the hill into Cook's and found it almost deserted. NO MOTORCYCLES!!! Normally there are HUNDREDS...mostly Harleys and Harley wannabees. Today, it's just the two RT's and a handfull of cars.


As we sat eating our burgers, a car pulled up right to the door, and offloaded three people, who came running in with their jackets over their heads. A few minutes later, the driver came running in, also covering his head. The four of them sat and took turns playing the Harley VIDEO GAME. laugh.giflaugh.giflaugh.giflaugh.giflaugh.gif


Then they noticed us sitting there next to a pile of wet gear. One by one, they'd go look out the door and spot the two big BMW's sitting there in the pouring rain. They'd stare for a long time...it was like they didn't really believe what they were seeing. We giggled and finished our burgers, then decided to head across Santiago Canyon to Irv Seaver BMW. I needed a few more K-bike parts, and I wanted to try on a pair of gloves that they had.


One thing that made both of us really laugh...we're sitting at a light and this guy in a Suburban next to us was giving us and the bikes the funniest look. From the looks he was giving us, you'd think we were sitting there poking ourselves with rusty metal spikes or something. Over the drone of the rain and the two boxers, I could hear Laney laughing about it all. I was already giggling about it, and hearing her laugh sent me totally over the edge. smile.gif



As we were suiting up at Cook's, we made a bet on how many bikes would be at the dealership. I think I guessed ten and Laney said seven. It turned out that there were just two....our RT's. smile.gif


They had the somewhat obscure parts that I needed in stock, and the gloves (Held Galaxy) fit. Dang. OK, so I got the parts and added the gloves to my "wish list". I also picked up a couple of BMW's marketing posters...a K12GT, an R1150R, and a Boxer Cup. They'll go nicely in the garage. We looked at a very clean '99 R1100S that I'm sure Tool would have been drooling all over, and we chatted with Brian (cool sales guy) about the dual-plug bikes...using a GS Adventure for show-and-tell.


Eventually we suited back up and retraced our route back through Santiago Canyon. At Cook's, I turned on Live Oak and Laney stayed straight to hit the freeway for the jog over to Casa de Sock Monkey. My ride through Live Oak was lots of fun, though I did have one...uh...interesting moment when my entire lane was covered with a film of mud and the bike slid for a good 30 yards. I just kept everything steady and rode it out...as soon as I cleared the mud, I felt both tires shudder a bit as they regained traction, and that was it.

I pulled into the garage grinning ear to ear. Thanks for a great ride, Laney. smile.gif



So..how did my gear do? Crappy, for the most part.


My 2-year-old FirstGear Killimanjaro Jacket's waterproof coating is gone. The jacket totally waterlogged very quickly. I was wearing my Gerbing's liner (unplugged) under it, and it kept my torso dry, but the Jacket was totally soaked.


My JoeRocket Ballistic pants left me with a soaked crotch and butt. Also, sitting at lights, I could feel water pooling, then seeping through the seams at the kneepads and running down my left leg.


My FirstGear Hipora gloves were soaked...although that may have been more because I forgot to tuck the gauntlets into my jacket cuffs and allowed water to run down my arms into the gloves.


My Alpinestar boots did great. My left foot was wet from the water running down my pants, but my right foot was totally dry.


That RF-900 really tries my patience. It fogs at the slightest excuse, so I have to ride with it cracked open just barely. That's not a big deal when it's dry. In the rain, it let lots of water in and soaked the cheekpads, and splashed water onto my glasses...making it difficult to see. I have a few things to try (look for Mitch's RF800=RF900 post over in the Gear and Accessories forum for details), but if they don't work, this helmet is gonna get the boot.


It POURED all day. It was pouring at 7:30am and didn't stop (at all) until almost 3:00am Sunday morning. I don't know how much we got officially, but I accidentally left the lid off my trash can and there's a good 10" of water in the bottom of it now.


Just another perfect day for a couple of certifiable nuts to go for a ride.

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That was beautiful, man. Wish I could have been there with the two of you. I gotta get me a bike. Soon! wink.gif


Your tale is just one more example of how most people don't get it. Just like riding to Torrey in a snow storm, with no cancellations from our group. Like riding from L.A. to San Francisco just to return a throttle cable, then turning around and riding right back. It's in our blood. It's what we do.


Now comes the hard part - telling this same story at work, and not letting them commit you! grin.gif

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Just another perfect day for a couple of certifiable nuts to go for a ride.


Yep, that's exactly what it was. smile.gif There's something very mysterious and almost indescribable about being out on your bike in the rain. I used to be afraid of it, but then I found it takes a part of why I ride -- to be out in and blend with the environment -- to a really pleasantly powerful extreme. There's the somewhat isolating sound of the rain while riding, combined with the quality of the colors when they're not washed out by the sun. Yesterday's ride through the green hills decorated with purple lupines, and the few yellow-orange poppies had so much more color depth and detail than we would have seen on a sunny day.


There was a section of Live Oak where the trees line both sides, and they've grown together to form a complete canopy overhead. The trees were just at that point of being fully covered with leaves, and the depth of the green enhanced the blanketing effect in the subdued light. The combination of colors and being enclosed was incredibly comforting. I don't imagine I would have noticed it quite that way, had it not been raining.


While we were heading for Cook's Corner, riding down Live Oak Canyon, I became very conscious of how alert I was to the road conditions, what was coming up, what Russell was doing that might signal different stuff to watch for, and what might appear from any of the driveways we passed. I felt kind of bad when the thought hit me that I should always be this alert and in touch with what's going on. Doh! blush.gif


Part of what was really fun was how on the two lane roads, cars pulled off to let us by. I’m still undecided as to whether they did that because they figured only some official something or another would be out on a motorcycle in that kind of weather, or whether they pulled over because they thought we were so over the top nuts that they’d better give us room to get by. I’ll never know. smile.gif


My Shoei XSP-II helmet was much less trouble than Russell's --it fogged, but not as easily, and I arrived home with dry cheekpads smile.gif


My Marsee Adventure Gloves probably would have been dry, had my sleeve ends not been so soaked, and had we not stopped twice and taken much of the wet clothing off for a time, and let it kind of saturate itself while we were laughing at the response of the "riders" at Cook's Corner, or yakking at Irv Seaver's.


My socks were pretty soggy, I think it’s time for new boots, they haven’t been the same since last July’s crash.


I can’t believe how much fun that ride was. Russell, there are few people I’d be as happy and comfortable to follow in such challenging conditions -- I was continually impressed by, and confident in, your level-headedness about the special needs that kind of weather presented. Thanks for leading such a great ride.


I just can’t figure out why nobody else was out there… grin.gif


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There was a section of Live Oak where the trees line both sides, and they've grown together to form a complete canopy overhead.


One of my earliest memories is riding in the back of my Grandfather's Olds and always asking to go to the "tree tunnel" I couldn't tell you what road it was, but some road near their place in Lancaster, TX had a tree canopy like that and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever. I still do, and that's one of the reasons that I like Live Oak Canyon.


It's also particularly good at night. The reflectors on the double-yellow are in fairly cool condition, so with the high beam and PIAA 1100's on, they really show up. With the tree canopy blocking out the light from the moon/stars/city/etc, it's VERY dark in there, so the effect is that you just see this double-yellow line snaking off away from you and there's almost no perception of what's going on next to the road. It's sorta like riding Space Mountain at Disneyland. smile.gif


In the heavy rain, it was very pretty, and also challenging. Fun. smile.gif


I really like that whole area and there's quite a bit of stuff to explore back there. If I'm looking for a "just go" ride some afternoon but I don't really have time to "go" anywhere substantial...I hit Canyons. Any one of those roads that branches off of Live Oak (there's only a few) lead to some interesting stuff. You will not find Vernal Falls or Half Dome up any of those roads, but it's interesting anyway. Off of Santiago Canyon, you can take Modjeska or Silverado Canyons (and there's another one, but I forget it's name now) that take you though some interesting stuff. There's lots of plant life back there, so it's really nice to do on a warm late-spring/early-summer afternoon.


And more than one of those roads ends in a dirt road...and THEY are the reason that I'm having trouble deciding if I need an XR400 with a street legal conversion, or an SV650. I KNOW the SV would be a hoot, and has lots to offer a rider...but I just gotta find out where those dirt roads go. smile.gif


Part of what was really fun was how on the two lane roads, cars pulled off to let us by. I’m still undecided as to whether they did that because they figured only some official something or another would be out on a motorcycle in that kind of weather, or whether they pulled over because they thought we were so over the top nuts that they’d better give us room to get by.


LOL!! I was thinking the same thing...some of those cars pulled WAY over and were practically underwater in the gutter trying to get out of our way. laugh.gif


there are few people I’d be as happy and comfortable to follow in such challenging conditions


Thanks...and right back at you. There aren't many people that I would feel good about having along on a day like that. It was great not having to worry or wonder if you were going to see that puddle or get the cue to be extra alert when I would my tap the brakes.


I just rode the bike and concentrated on doing that well, knowing that you were right there behind me doing the same thing.


It was an awesome ride and hearing you giggle at every stoplight just made it that much better. smile.gif



And...when I saw the bikes going past today (nice and sunny), I thought..."How ordinary." cool.gif

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Hey you two. I think the most fun I've had with that kind of situation was last oct. on the way home from torrey. Left tucson in heavy rain and a bit of hail. Stopped in deming n.m. for lunch still in very heavy rain. When I came back out to leave there were 3 car loads of people waiting for the rain to slack up. Heard one of them say...no way I'm driving in this rain. Couldn't help but smile as I got on the bike and headed east to austin, tx. What a great feeling!



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Russell and Laney, you two ROCK!


Every once in awhile I come across a rider’s rider, someone who uses a motorcycle to live life full blast. It isn’t about who can ride the fastest or the farthest, it is about seeing something worth doing on a rainy day. It is about getting out there and seeing what today is like.


Whatever makes you two want to play in the rain also makes you the kind of riders I admire most.


I WISH two bad influences like you lived in my neighborhood! smile.gifsmile.gifsmile.gif

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Awesome, Russell - awesome write up!


There's always something really magical about a rainy day (especially when they don't happen that often). You captured that magic to a tee.



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Fantistic story guys - while I really miss seeing pictures, I guess it's OK smile.gif


I really did regret not grabbing my camera for this. My two favorites would have been:


At the Shell station -- two dripping wet bikes and two rain covered riders. In the foreground to one side, you can read the display on the pump - "WANT A CARWASH?"


At Cook's Corner. Big parking lot. A car here, a truck there. The Cook's Corner sign in the background. Front and center, the only bikes in sight -- two rain-washed RTs.



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Those two shots would have been great...but the one I want for my desktop wallpaper, is my view across the lane over you and Big Blue (dripping wet, but visibly laughing) focused on that poor sap in the Suburban who was looking at you like he was looking at a Tap dancing alligator or something. In the dictionary under "Bewildered", there's a picture of him. laugh.gif

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Reminds me of the Saturday we rode to "The Rock Store" in the rain.


A great ride out, of course being mindful of the conditions, and when we got there we were somewhat surprised to see that we were the only two bikes there. Normally the Rock Store's parking area is jammed on a Saturday.


Went inside and ordered breakfast. The lady at the counter looked at our riding gear, shook her head, and said, "You ride BMW's don't you?"


Steve in So Cal

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