Monday, April 2, 2012
Flemington, NJ; April 1, 2012, Motorcycle Polar Bear Blog
Polar Bear Blog, April 1, 2012, Flemington, NJ.
By: Chris Loynd
After Captain's storied ride leadership debacle last week, he adamantly refused to lead this Sunday.
Mac wasn't going to touch it and Fonz had already claimed the sweep position when I rode up to join them at the Dunkin' Donuts in Stratford.
Since it appeared I had no choice, I volunteered.
I had anticipated and prepared. The night before I loaded the destination in my GPS. Then I took a look at the location, Cheeburger, Cheeburger, on Google Maps. Ah, yes, I remember this from last year. This place is tucked deep in a shopping center located at the center of a complex of shopping centers all served by a maniacal New Jersey traffic roundabout.
Did you hear the story about the old farmer who came to town and drove his beat up old pickup truck into one of these New Jersey circular traffic controls?
Upon entering the roundabout, he made the mistake of moving to the inside lane. As his exit came up he tried to move across but a line of cars monopolized outside lane and the farmer meekly held to the center. He figured to exit the next time around, but just then a wankin' big SUV with a phone chatting driver nearly hit him.
The poor old guy figured to make it on the next go-round. As he came up the exit the car tailgating him suddenly swooped out and flipped him the bird as it powered off the farmer's exit. Leaving the poor farmer still on the inside.
Exasperated, the old guy saw his chance and pulled into a gas station that was located on the roundabout. It wasn't his exit, but he needed to gather his wits.
No sooner did he come to a stop then five guys came running out of the station. They pumped his gas, cleaned his windshield, changed his two outside tires, then one of the guys stuck his head into the truck's open window, handed the farmer a cold drink and shouted, "Get back in there old man, you're running in second place!"
I led a quiet and steady ride right up to our destination. Then I hit those roundabouts.
My GPS showed a diagram of the madness and counseled me to take the sixth roundabout exit.
Watch the traffic, the bikes behind me, the cars cutting into our line, and here we go. One, two, three, four, five, six, signal and exit. Dang!
I chose wrong.
Mr. Garmin must have meant six AFTER entering. Or was it six INCLUDING the one on which you entered? And I can't judge 200 feet if you held a gun to my head. Is it this one or the next? They both looked to be within a few hundred feet. And who puts seven or eight exits on one roundabout in the first place? Only in New Jersey where they have an absolute fear of left hand turns and thereby invented roundabouts and jug handles.
All the bikes tumbled in behind me. We were on the wrong road. Well I know we gotta be close. I was tempted to climb up on the Harley's saddle to see if I couldn't spot the dang destination. A visual bearing might have been helpful about now. Instead I was stuck with the little picture on my Garmin which was madly recalculating a fall-back route. I found myself and my five companions sitting at a stop light. Then the Garmin showed me that just to my left and slightly behind me was the road I truly wanted.
At first I figured to go right when the light turned green and recalculate again. Then I decided to make a u-turn and hard right. Yes I did! Despite my own ride leading debacle back at the Whitestone Bridge a few weeks back, I signaled and moved. This time nobody collided or fell.
Another couple jigs and jags and we found ourselves pulling into the parking lot of Cheeburger, Cheeburger.
Whew! As we dismounted I let out a sigh of relief and braced for the onslaught. My fellow riders did not disappoint and chided and teased me.
Captain thanked me for getting him off the hook for his last week's disaster. But it didn't last. He no sooner entered the restaurant 'till our Polar Bear Grand Tour leaders greeted him with pokes in the ribs, kicks to the shins and assaults on his ego.
You gotta have some thick skin to get out in front of this group and take them for a ride.