Lake Hoptacong, NJ; January 3, 2010
Well I was all suited up and ready to ride. A quick check of the radar, and a generally optimistic disposition, had me thinking the snow would all stay north of us. The road outside was clear. A path was cleared down the center of my driveway where I had worked my way down to bare pavement through previous snow storms.
John Howard sent a photo of the motorcycle track he had cleared in his driveway. Looks like he has a much longer driveway than I. And when the snow is too nasty or icy, you worry about only shoveling, gouging, scraping or salting the width of a motorcycle tire.
Seeing the photo reminded me of a funny story a couple of Polar Bear seasons ago. During the week we had one of those nasty New England ice storms. It was followed by a cold snap and the ice was everywhere hard and steadfast. I worked on my driveway for hours Saturday. My wife Cynthia was out most of the day.
When she pulled into our driveway that afternoon, her car immediately listed to one side. As she drove down the driveway, car leaned over, she started to laugh. Right away she knew what I was up to.
Too much work to chisel out the whole driveway, I had cleared only one track.
Sunday the driveway was ready, the roads were clear. The weather was in the teens, well below freezing. So unfortunately, any snow at all could make the road instantly slick and icy.
As I was getting ready to put my helmet on the home phone rang. It was the Captain, John Kammerer. He had tried my cell, but I had missed it, shuffling in and out from the house to the garage getting the bike ready.
His take was that everyone else was already snowed in. His more detailed look at the radar suggested we were about to be snowed in too. “What did I think?,” he wanted to know.
What I thought was that I could not afford to get stranded in New Jersey. I had lots of work that needed doing Monday. Plus I have always had an aversion to dropping my bike.
We decided to not go. Actually, I decided to not go. Captain had another idea.
I hung up the phone with John and went back outside to stand down the Harley and reattach its battery umbilical cord. All the sudden it was snowing pretty hard. By the time I had all my riding crap off, it was slicking up the roads.
It snowed, steady, all day. By noon I was very glad I was not riding that day.
General Napoleon said, “You cannot buy a man's life at any price. But he will gladly risk it for a small bit of ribbon.”
Sorry, I am just not that into it, to drive my car to a Polar Bear motorcycle meet. Some people are more driven by points, pins and patches. Or maybe they just enjoy the heroic accomplishment.
John Kammerer, protecting his perfect attendance, changed from motorcycle clothes back into civies and drove his car to New Jersey. Here is his report.
Captain's Snowy Adventure
After numerous phone conversations, I converted back to standard clothing and headed south at about 9:20 a.m. As I passed the exit for Route 8 the snow stopped and the skies cleared. Sound familiar? (For non-Connecticut readers that's less than five miles south of our Stratford starting point.) I followed the proposed route and found it to be clear all the way except for an occasional flurries.
Upon arrival at the Wearhouse Grill, who was out in the parking lot to greet me but Bob Hartpence? There were about three-dozen bikes in the lot and it was early yet. Bob's eyes followed me as I parked the car. When I approached him he greeted me with, “It was already 18 degrees at my house when I left.”
I quickly went inside and saw Rich at the sign-in desk. He asked, “Where's the hat? Is it too cold for you?” So with the sun shining brightly, I commenced to explain the problem that those of us from the north had with snow.
Signing in at 11:20 a.m., I promptly departed. It was clear all the way back until exit 41 on route 15. I arrived at Sue's house at 1:00 p.m. (For non-Connecticut readers, that's about 10 miles south of our home departure point.)
I have no doubt that I might have made it on the bike, maybe! I am also convinced that, in fact, we all made the right call to stand down on this one, because it only takes one fall to ruin your whole day.
We did good today and get another shot next week. What could be better?
Thanks John. We will take that “nother shot” Sunday, January 10, leaving at 9:30 a.m. The distance is about the same. The cold is predicted to be about the same. But the skies will be clear.