Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snow and Space Shuttles

In the Southwest Phoenix experienced a record breaking high of 80F on December 13. A record that has been sitting there since 1939.  On the other hand Atlanta experienced recording breaking cold temperatures on December 14 of 14F.  A record that has stood since 1917.

15F temp

With temps like these sitting over the South it shouldn't come as any surprise that we received some snow here.  Snow isn't unheard of.  It just isn't common.  The schedule here is about every seven years.  And this is not one of these years.  Nevertheless...snow it was.


The accumulation was enormous. We had drifts all about town at curbs (what few there are), building foundations and windshield wipers.  Drifts up buildings piled to the second floor windows.  First floor doors and windows were fairly useless.  Vehicles were bogged down and it was almost too much for these poor pieces of machinery.  The weight was unbearable and almost broke power lines.  Nay, power poles!  And lets not get started on the black ice...

Snow pellets

So the bikes have been tucked away in the garage.  Their little footsies are cold.  They aren't directly on the cement floor, but the scant 1/2 inch separating the tires from floor doesn't prevent the cold from radiating up towards everything warmer.

But the clouds cleared away on Sunday.  The sun warmed the ground enough to dry up the rain and hidden ice.  The temperatures were a chilling 40F, but one could survive outside.  So we dusted off the bikes, gently blew a little air into those frigid dancing shoes and went through the labors of suiting up into our death and flexibility defying cold weather riding gear.

We stupidly hoped the promised mid- to high-40's temps would come earlier, instead of later.  So we foolishly just zipped the liners into the jackets and went on our merry way.  Not so merry...  If we had just been riding on regular side-streets at standard speeds it probably would have been fine.  But our destination was way on the other side of Atlanta and we were taking the interstate to get there.  So the liners proved insufficient at highway+ speeds.  It wasn't so bad that we had to pull over instantly...but we knew arrival at our destination meant we would be unzipping those useless liners and suiting into the heated Gerbings.  Why oh why do we shun you dear Gerbings??  Actually I know, but that is a story for another time.

So stopping and changing our clothing at our destination gave us a pause.  See...we were following the lead on our local tag game.  The current tag had been sitting in situ for awhile and people on the boards were starting to whine.  Warm weather wussies wanted it to move, but didn't want to be the one to move it.  Insults were flung back and forth!  It was getting nasty and degenerating into some rank name calling.  Then someone put forth that the group was just a bunch of girls.

So...OK...  If they were nothing but girls, it was gonna be a girl that kicked their ass's.  But as I said, changing clothes at this particular destination was disconcerting.  This location just happens to be Travis Tritt's driveway...

GA Tag - Travis Tritt's

I could just imagine what was going through Mr (or Mrs) Tritt's mind as they 1) wondered what these motorcycles were doing in their driveway and 2) why are they dressing in their driveway??  Mr. Oilburner and I kept waiting to hear the whine of an electric motor rotating some remote camera around to keep us in its sight.

Because this also turned into a day that the Tritt's residence was a stopping point for many motorcycles.  (It seems the warming trend in the weather had a couple more people out on their steeds visiting the same locale.)  But I won!!  HA!

I wasn't planning on being too original on where I was going to move the tag to.  I was just making sure it moved to stop the whining and shove it up their noses that it took a girl to move it.  Mr. Oilburner and I were going to visit some nearby relatives and we would just place the tag in a nearby landmark.  A well known landmark that would be one more nail in that coffin of vindication.

But on that way to that landmark I spied something infinitely more suited to my tastes.  I finally managed to get an image of my bike in front of the Space Shuttle.


The McNASA McShuttle!!

Admittedly it isn't quite the Shuttle that I would have liked to image my bike in front of, but it is better then nothing.  Seems this one wasn't launching anytime soon.  Just like that other one sitting down at the Cape.  (In case you haven't heard, the same launch that RichardM and I had hoped to witness is currently schedule to fly no earlier then Feb 3, 2011... Poop!)

In all, it was a lovely day.  We never did see those high-40's temps.  My temperature gauge bounced back and forth between 38 and 44.  The Gerbings was making it bearable.  Earlier I alluded to a problem with my Gerbing's, which I am still not going to go into just yet.  The current result is that I am not able to use my jacket at 100% effectiveness.  But the cold was kept at bay.

We found a wonderful shanty of a restaurant with great food.  The staff was friendly and used to seeing their regulars.  We were identified as strangers and treated as such.  Meaning that they talked our ears off about who we were and what we were doing and when would we be coming back.  The food was really, really good.


Philly Cheese steak with onions and peppers.  YUM!

Pulled pork BBQ.  The sauce was wonderful.

The place is actually Benson's Grill.  They haven't yet changed the name on the outside.
After the food and festivities there are always the people.  We did see quite a few bikes on the roads.  As we were leaving Benson's we waved to a few going by.  We joked and laughed, wondering if they were on their way to go visit Mr. Tritt's house.  (Turns out one of them did!!  LOL)

There was also the guy in the truck at some intersection that was intent on getting my attention.  Mr. Oilburner saw him and returned his thumbs up.  But he wasn't satisfied with that and needed to get my affirmation too.  I did have to smile at his enthusiasm and wonder if he was happy to see the bikes, or to see a girl on a bike.

Then we had our familiar obligations...  We said our hellos.  I worked on posting my pictures of that tag while Mr. Oilburner sucked down large quantities of Hershey Kisses.  We chatted and discussed Christmas plans for awhile.  Then excused ourselves as we wanted to get home before the sun went down and the cold came back with a vengeance.  The older generation of the household wanted to see us ride away, as they hadn't seen us on bikes.  (And one secretly still believes that I can't possibly ride...)  The cold kept them peeping out from the window.  But it makes one painfully aware of just how long it takes to stow sundry laptops and cameras.  And redress in the required safety gear of gloves, helmets and jackets.  And to get said jackets properly plugged in.  And to get the steed mounted and ready to move.  And there wasn't any possible way I was going to make a u-turn in this walking path they call a street because you could be guaranteed that I was going to do something foolish or stupid since loved ones were watching.

Boy, it is so much easier just opening a door and climbing into a car.  A twist of a knob and heat is blasting out some vents to warm you right up.  But there is NOTHING that compares to squeezing that tank between your legs, twisting the throttle and leaning into the speed to make up for any amount of time required getting all that gear right.  (Which I didn't actually do and my neck froze on the way home because I refused to stop.  I just wanted to get home!!  It was cold!!)  :)

I have to acknowledge special fortitude in blog friends that are tougher then I and are out riding in colder temps with much less whingeing.  CircleBlue on his Symba.  SonjaM enjoying Nella for the last ride of the year.  Steve and his scooter, camera always in hand.  Tombstone's icy mountain ride. Trobairitz and her speculations on riding weather. Twisted Roads legend making another excursion before the snow sets in.  Nikos overcoming machine and distance to enjoy some water with winter.  D&T enjoying (cough) feets of snow and prospects of foot traffic. And then there is Roger in the southern hemisphere just laughing away at our chilly temps and snowy tribulations as he enjoys the beginning of summer.  But don't worry Roger.  We will be basking in our warm, sweet revenge come April and May.  Click on those links on the right side of this page and support some friends in their adventures.

May you all steadfastly remain with two wheels on the ground and the shiny side up.  May you each enjoy the season in the best way you see fit and ride to many more adventures.  Wishing you all the best for the remaining year and robust wishes that all come true in the one to come!  :)


  1. Congrats on the photo tag! Doubly so, being the girl that kicked a bunch of wussy boy's asses! And I like the new tag - nicely done! :)

    Love your description of getting ready to ride while an audience watches. Yes, takes forever to get all the stuff on and tucked in just so. I never do u-turns where someone can see me!

    Wishing you Happy Holidays, and a wonderful new year filled with many riding adventures!

  2. Lori

    Why o why do you have to post pictures of my favourite food just as I need to lose a few pounds before my trousers split over Christmas?

    You have me guessing about the Gerbings.....Will there be a prize for the correct answer? A puncture repair kit?

    Absolutely no prospect of riding here in England at the moment - sheet ice in my drive way. It's even too cold to work on the GS or fit the leather boots to the RT.


  3. Great job on the photo tag. So glad you could get out for a ride. Sunny days are so worth getting suited up in all the gear. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  4. Lori:

    When I started my ride yesterday it was 3c (37F) with some snow forecast. I have heated gear but seldom use it. I didn't even turn on my heated grips even though I had to take the freeway (Interstate) south to Steveston. The wind chill was killing me, esp since the wind was coming in my neck area and my fingers were freezing.

    As for parking your bike, I always park to facilitate leaving, so I would have it turned in the correct direction when I arrive, unless the ground is cambered in the wrong angle.

    Glad you had an enjoyable day out and your food makes me hungry

    Wet Coast Scootin

  5. It is 43F here. I had to stop and take off a layer. Alas, the warm-up will be short lived. Ice and snow for Christmas. Good for the Christmas Spirit, but bike-ugly if you ask me.

    Way to show them on the tag!

    The days are officially getting longer.


  6. Wow, 14°F in Atlanta. I wou;d've never expected that. I like the shot of your bike in front of the McShuttle, I was obviously looking for the shuttle in the wrong place. I'm also wondering about the Gerbing issue as I am debating on whether to pick up some of their liners. In spite of the temperature, it looks like you had a great day riding.

    I'm teaching a workshop in South Carolina on February 2-5, 2011 but no extra time to try and catch the launch. Is this still being listed as the last launch of the shuttle? Darn...

    Merry Christmas!

  7. what a scary scenario, I hope you stocked up on food for all the days you will be buried under the white stuff. And how brave of you to face the brutal weather on two wheels. ;-)

    So far I haven't used heated gear (ok: with the exception of heated grips since I only own summer gloves). My jacket with liner is already so heavy and bulky that I just can't stand another layer...

    You have yourself a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Riding Year.


  8. Good job on the tag! We had a good game going here until the whiners shut it down.. :(

    Good luck on the Gerbing prob...once you get used to them it's hard to go without!

  9. Hi Bluekat,

    Can you believe that McShuttle tag only lasted about 1 hour? It turns out that one of the bikes we saw on the road actually did try to snag the Tritt house tag while he was wandering around. I beat him, tho! But since he only lived about 5 miles from the McShuttle he went out and snagged that quickly. Then we egged someone else on to get out late at night and snag the cemetery tag that came next. Cemetery tags at night...nice!! :)

    I try not to park where people have to watch me make a u-turn either! It just doesn't help when some streets around here are only 1 and a half car widths wide...

    I hope you have Happy Holidays too!! Hope you are surrounded by great family and the weather lets you start off the New Year in style! :)


  10. Hi Nikos!

    Trust me, that food isn't doing anything for my waistline either... :(

    I apologize about the secrecy of the Gerbings. I like the jacket and will continue using the brand, but still need to talk with them about an exchange. Try guessing and I can see about some Crocs. :)

    Interesting that England is covered in ice. I hear this isn't quite a common occurence there either. I know that Glasgow is getting record snow and cold and ice as well.

    Hope it clears up soon and lets you get to work and play!


  11. Hi Trobairitz!

    This was a great tag, but only because it got the tag moving fast. Within three hours of me posting the McShuttle it had been moved, and captured, twice!! The last one was at a cemetery in the middle of the night. Especially when the the cemetery was considered haunted. Didn't hurt that the guy who picked that one up used to play in it when he was younger. :)

    Hope you have some great weather days to get out and play and spy some new bikes to size them up. ;)

    We are supposed to get rain over the weekend. Boohoo.


  12. Hi Bobskoot!

    How can you have the gear and not use it in those temps?? I would have frozen in those temps. Actually, I did during the hour ride on the interstate when I was hoping just the liner would work.

    You have a strong constitution to not use it!!

    Great idea on appropriate bike positioning in advance. I'm good at backing into a sloped spot...but really can't remember to position that bike properly in regular areas. You are correct, it would have been so easy to just back the bike into the curb in the other direction. Argh...I just can't remember these things. :)

    Hope you are doing well and the weather will allow you to get out and enjoy some food porn of your own! :)


  13. Hi Keith/Circle Blue!

    You make me laugh. I'm wondering just how many layers you had on that you had to remove one?!?!

    Hope you get the snow, but not the ice. The soft stuff might let you take Billie on the driveway and have a little fun!


  14. Hi RichardM!

    The world is upside down when Hotlanta is 14F! At least Alaska wasn't warmer! Then we might as well just move the equator. LOL.

    The Gerbings are good. Get them. I believe my issue is an isolated case and don't think they will have a problem exchanging it. It's just bad timing of the year. :)

    Still two shuttle launches...might be able to fit them into the schedule!! Feb 3 and Apr 1. For now...

    Merry Christmas to you and the family! Hope it is relaxing and enjoyable!


  15. HI SonjaM!

    Yeah, there was a run on bread, milk and eggs with all that snow. OK...actually there was a little one because of the expected ice. Luckily it wasn't as bad as expected and the rain the next day melted it fairly quickly. :)

    I just can't believe that you are riding in the same temps I am, in the rain, and you don't use your heat!! I couldn't do it.

    Let me give you a tip on the Gerbings jacket...it replaces the jacket liner, so you aren't bulking up on additional layers. But that is ONLY if your jacket is non-mesh. It also means that you only need to wear a thinsulate type long sleeve shirt. Don't want to put on too many layers under the Gerbings, otherwise the heat can't get to you.

    So my layering is actually thinner with the Gerbings. Nice!!

    Hope your Christmas holiday is relaxing and wonderful! Looking forward to reading of your upcoming New Year adventures!!


  16. Hi Ken!

    Whiners?? In Utah? Bummer. Why can't they just leave the game instead of ruining it for the rest. Was it a state-wide game? Or a region? What were they whining about?

    Thanks for the Gerbing support. I think they will make good, if I can get to Support. (My timing problem, not their phone lines.) I firmly believe my issue is isolated. I will be happy to write about it as soon as I work it out with them.

    This is actually my second jacket. Never had a problem with the first one, and it is currently being used by my husband...who LOVES it!!

    Do you have just the jacket? Or do you have the pants liner as well? Or you like SonjaM and Bobskoot that you can ignore those temps and get out there? :)


  17. Lori:

    Hope you and Oilburner have a very Happy New Year.

    Wet Coast Scootin