Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cape May October 25, 2009

We were eight. Most all the usual suspects were there, including our hardest core of John Bears. No, they do not fancy prostitutes, and I am not making any disparaging potty references. It's just that somehow three-quarters of the Connecticut Polar Bears have the same first name and that name happens to be John.

New to our group was Bart. Now there's a great riding name. Actually, it's a better cowboy name. But it does just as well for a rider, especially a Harley rider, which Bart is. I guess Bart had a favorable impression (or he is just a wild optimist) because he signed up to try and earn the coveted Polar Bear Patch.

Captain K. was definitely rusty on his pack leadership skills. Usually a very disciplined rider, you can set your cruise control to John K.'s pace. If you're like me, and do not have cruise control, well you can just spin that throttle lock tight, sit back, and enjoy the ride. (See the previous post disclaimer about reading this blog.)

We did a lot of rubber banding. Riding sweep, as I was, the effect was multiplied. We spent some much time going slow in the fast lane Winnebagos with handicapped stickers were flying by us on the right. "Go around them Mother! Dang motorcycles."

Not yielding the passing lane incensed one cager so much, this nutcase passed a slower car in the right lane by using the shoulder. That was after trying several times to break our line.
We arrived in Cape May at just about the right time. We parked close to the VFW, waited less than half-an-hour, and checked in for our PB points.

I took advantage of the extra time it took Bart to sign up to purchase some new gear from Len from MLDS.

I splurged on the new, microwire, top-o'-the-line, Gerbing T-5 heated gloves. You will have to wait for my review in a future blog. The weather on the ride home never got cold enough to even turn them on.

Seven-year-old Harley-version Gerbing leather electric gloves were my previous hand warmers. They worked only so-so. And when it got really cold, I resorted to a set of down-filled hiking mittens with a chemical heat pack under my fingers. That combo kept my fingers warm in any weather, especially when snuggled deep inside my hippo hands.
All registered and recorded we took the weekly group photo.

Actually, we did not take it. Johnny B.'s camera decided to conk out just at that moment and we had to rely upon the kindness of strangers because my little camera has no tripod mount. Still we got it done and the Connecticut Bears are recorded for whatever time the perhaps transient Internet storage offers.

We stopped in at our favorite sport bar in Cape May for lunch. As was the case last year, we were their first customers of the day. Being eight in number, they seemed happy to have us.
We started up the road to Connecticut riding as before . . . too much as before. So at the first gas stop I offered a word to the wise to our ride leader. You don't gotta ask twice with the Captain. He quickly smoothed out his ride technique.

The crazies still beat around us a bit. Eight motorcycles in staggered formation makes for a pretty long line. Most cars are gracious and stay out of our group.

Things were pretty uneventful on the ride back until Grumpy started fiddling with his EZ Pass. As we were crossing to the exit lane on 287 to catch the Merritt Parkway home, I saw the white cube take one bounce and then slide, spinning for the shoulder, ahead of my bike.

Wasn't quick enough to catch it on the fly. But I checked my mirrors, pulled hard on both brakes and dove for the shoulder. I jogged back south 50 yards and there was Grumpy's EX Pass was intact resting safely on the shoulder.

He will have to wait until this week to see if it survived the fall.

Our next ride is another long one, Lewes, Delaware. I will sneak down the day before to have dinner with the folks in Wilmington, Del. It saves me getting up early. My Mom delights in making my favorite foods. And there is sure to be scrapple for breakfast. (Last year the scrapple was not served in Lewes.)

Hopefully we will get a bit more quality time with our Flight Leaders Rich and Dave in Lewes. We always enjoy visiting with them, but they dismissively waved us off in Cape May. Something to do with a new sign-in system to manage the always crowded first ride process.

Or maybe they just did not want to hear about the Captain's blood points so early in the season.

If you want to see this post with photos, visit my mirror Polar Bear Blog:

Polar Bear Blog in new form allows comments

In Medieval times winter was a fearful time. Families huddled in their huts, ventured outside very little, desperately tried to stay warm.

Now as the days get shorter and crisp mornings herald colder nights, I feel a bit of that winter depression and fear. Maybe it is instinct left over from caveman days. You know it's coming. You know it is only going to get colder and colder and darker and darker. This is freakin' New England. Winter can be rough. There is only one cure for me. Get on my motorcycle and ride!
Nowadays, I spend my winter Sunday mornings motoring through New Jersey, exposed to winter's fiercest chill. Yet I enjoy a unique comfort.

A warm cocoon of silk, teckwick, thinsulate, fleece, wool and codura retain most all my body heat. What leaks away at 70 miles per hour is easily replaced by electric threads sewn into my jacket and gloves and chemical heat packs under my toes.

I am blessed to enjoy these adventures with a group of like-minded riders. They are all as crazy as am I; some are more crazy; others are less so. Some ride without electric clothing, relying entirely upon insulation and their own rugged constitutions. Others ride with electric everything, fingers to toes.
The Polar Bear Grand Tour is not really meant for us. Most of the rides are in New Jersey, with a few in Pennsylvania, one in New York and one in Delaware. Even so, the Bears have graciously embraced us, riding in as we do from Connecticut.
I read about the Polar Bears in a magazine article in 2002. It sounded like great fun and I took my first ride that year. I have not missed a season since. As Connecticut riders learned of it, they decided to join in and today we have a half-dozen stalwarts, plus twenty-some others who ride when they can. You can read about my first Polar Bear ride on my Polar Bear Blog posted at:

If you would like to join us, we meet at The Dunkin' Donuts in Stratford, Conn., just off Interstate 95, Exit 30, corner of Lordship Blvd., and Honeyspot Rd.

Three years ago I started capturing our adventures in this blog. It turned out to be a lot of fun -- and a lot more work -- than I ever expected.

Last year job difficulties and an unfair share of wicked weather, meant I missed a lot of rides. My Polar Bear vest of honor now has a red rocker at the bottom of my short string of gold ones. And the blog just never got off the ground.

So my few but intrepid readers, the blog is back!

If you care to read it, you should know a few ground rules.

First and foremost, I write this because I enjoy writing. It is something I do for myself. It is a wonderful place to exercise the muse without commercial purpose tainting the outcome.
That said, I do not mind sharing. And I appreciate comments, good and bad. To that end, I will explore this year double-posting these musings here on Blogspot where you will have an opportunity to post your comments and participate in my Polar Bear musings.

Second, and this is important, I have no obligations to my readers. I make no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the value of this narrative. Furthermore, I feel no obligation to report accurately, or fairly, or even to tell the truth.

Third, it may take me most or all of each week to get this thing written and posted. I am trying to write this on the train to and from work, during True TV and South Park commercial breaks and in any other free snippet of time. I make no promise as to the timeliness or regularity of my postings.

If you want to sign on as a friend on my Facebook page, I will make a wall posting each time the blog is posted. Otherwise, just keep checking back, it boosts my Google rating!

I already know I will not make every ride this year.

One ride is already preempted by a weekend getaway with my patient and understanding (or at least silent suffering) wife. By the way, I will NOT be answering my cell phone that Sunday morning! I made that mistake several years ago, taking a call in bed in a Newport bed and breakfast, from Clark no less, and my wife Cynthia did not appreciate the interruption. As women do, she will never let me forget the infraction.

Certainly I do not have the drive of a Captain K. or Grumpy who will drive a car or truck through the most hellacious winter storms, risk life and limb, spend hours in miserable traffic, just to sign-in to earn their perfect attendance pins.

For rides I miss, I will reach out to my fellow Connecticut bears for correspondent reports.
Fourth and finally, please remember the opinions expressed in this blog do not reflect the thoughts of management, nor any authority, nor good taste even. Advice in this blog is taken at your own risk. Metaphor, simile, and flat out prevarication are often used in an attempt at humor.

Your blog may vary. Past blog performance does not guarantee future results. Blog results not typical. No warranties are expressed or implied. These claims have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This blog is void where prohibited. Your continued reading constitutes acceptance of these terms. I am Chris Loynd and I approve this message.