Saturday, August 23, 2008

I made it!

I wanted you to know that I made it to Ft Myers. 900 miles in 20 hours, but I did not record how many miles I was blown sideways. Quick summary is "do not read too much into local weather reports on-line when planning a trip 'behind' a tropical depression." They forgot to mention 1" per hour rainfall and gusting winds up to 45 knots. I guess they think we know that stuff will be happening in addition to the "Winds out of the east 5-10 mph" and "random showers, some thundershowers possible." They were random, got that right!

I now understand more about the wind rotation of such a system. For hours I battled cross winds out of the east. Timing was unpredictable, but they were always from the east. Then as the 'back end' of the system reached I-75, I got a mix, as in Easterly - easterly- headwind - easterly. The headwind was so strong that my ground speed would go from 60 mph to 40 mph in a second. It was like slamming on the brakes at highway speed. Exhilarating to say the least especially when preparing for a side wind. I was glad to be behind that Vetter Windjammer fairing, thanks go to Craig Vetter! Oh, and all that wind and water cleaned the bike. It looks good. Now I don't have to wash it this year.

I learned to watch (out of the corner of my eye) the tree tops on the east side hiway. When they bowed down, count one-two-three four-five and get ready to lean into the wind. I stayed in the right lane so I had the shoulder as an extra 'run off' area. I never needed it, but it was nice to see it there. However, there was no shoulder for much of the I-75 stretch in Georgia and Florida due to construction.

When I did a short due west stretch, I had a tail wind and was going 60 mph with almost no throttle. the fairing was acting like a sail I guess. Too bad the scenery was mile after mile of flooded out houses west of Jacksonville. This is a road (A1A and US301) that we have traveled for 30 years and are familiar with the small towns along the way. They have some tough times ahead. No power for many miles, crews were out there taking out the trees and re-stringing power lines while it was still blowing.

Funny sign will have to be in words as I was unable to get out the camera. At the Florida Welcome Station, the place was closed due to the storm and they had a sign on the door saying so. This was a time when people needed welcoming more than ever. They closed the rest-rooms as well! What is with that? There was a groups wearing XM radio gear and I am guessing they were reporters looking for a story. They were amazed as well. Anyway, when I got back on the bike, the sun came out for 30 seconds. God smiled on me. I liked it!

I had pretty much decided to bag it when I got to Ocala on US 301. But it was only 6pm, though it was dark. I just could not go to bed at 6PM and I'd have to wake up and ride in the rain again. So I bit the bullet and got on I-75. The first minute was terrible and I was in the right lane to get off and find a bed when I saw a bright spot on the horizon, just east of south. I rode on and in ten miles broke out of the system, all the sky to the south was high clouds and bright. Rode all the way to Ft Myers in that. Arrived in the area at midnight, just two hours later than my "earliest if you don't stop to eat or play" time of ten pm. However it took an hour to find the right La Quinta and get checked in. the hotel is great, surely the best $55 room I've ever had. The bed felt very good at 2am. I feel fine and needed not even an advil.

I am going to the ECHO farm now, the sun is out, it is beautiful! Taking the sun screen, and the rain-gear! Looks like Fay is going to visit Jack's family....

1 comment:

erica said...

Um, so this is why there are motorcycle safety classes, right? Scary. I shudder to think what a less experienced driver would have done in this kind of weather. Glad you're there safe, and I hope you have a great time!