Sunday, October 28, 2012

Return to Mexico Day 09 – Oct 19 Home in Bandon

This would be a great day to test all of my cold weather gear. When I stepped outside of the motel this morning the freezing temperature took my breath away. I think Winnemucca must be fairly high in elevation to warrant such a crisp morning but at least the sun was coming up and it looked to be a great day for a ride. Home was still well over 500 miles away and I wasn't sure if I'd try to make it in one shot or layover in Klamath Falls again.

I gathered up my gear and began the loading process on the bike. The panniers were well balanced as I'd gradually shifted things around each day until finally arriving at a good mix. That seems to be the case on all my trips, I start out with what I feel is a decent arrangement but always end up with a new one as dictated by weather. While I was loading up I overheard a lady say "I wouldn't want to be riding a bike this morning, it's freezing!" Looking up I saw her and her husband carrying their bags along the overhead walkway. When they reached the bottom where I was at I responded with "A bit too nippy for you is it?" We all laughed and the guy, an older man just shook his head. I don't think they were riders.

With breakfast out of the way and the bike gassed up I set out on a westerly course towards home. My getup was keeping me toasty warm; I was wearing several layers of specialized gear including an electric heated vest. This worked well in conjunction with the electrically heated grips on the bike. In fact I was able to turn the temps down a little on the grips as my hands were getting too warm. 

Nevada's 70 - 75 mph speed limits contribute greatly to achieving long distances in a fairly short order and for the most part I seemed to be the only one on the road. It wasn't all that early, I'd left the motel at 8:00am but traffic was nearly nonexistent. "Good deal" I thought and dialed up my speed to a bit over 80, always keeping an eye out for the occasional trooper. I'd covered over 40 miles before I spotted one parked alongside the road and clearly visible from a mile away. I'm not sure how easy it is to lock onto a target as small as the Ninja from that far away but I've been told if you can see them they can pick you up on their radar. I slowed a bit to 73 which I held as I passed him by and for the next couple of miles. My GPS is dead on for speed and I'm told most officers won't bother with you until you're over by 6 mph - learned that in Bad Boy Traffic School a few years back.

The day wore on and I continued to make really good time, the Ninja was chewing up the miles and except for fuel stops we maintained a high average speed. The Garmin GPS has a nice feature built into it, when you press the "Where To?" button one of the standard selections is "Home". I'd opted for it and an arrival time of a bit after 4:00pm was displayed, plenty early enough for me to continue all the way if I felt like it. When I'm touring I let my body tell me when to stop for the day or keep going. Like a lot of old geezers it's my back that usually does the telling or occasionally it's my butt. Today neither one was complaining so I kept up the pace and other than a couple of low fuel warnings it was an uneventful ride.

The temperature had increased slightly but I kept my cold gear on because I knew when I reached the coastal area it would turn nasty; Linda had told me it had been raining heavily and it's never the warm variety. Sure enough, about the time I got within 75 miles of the coast the rain hit accompanied with chilling temps. My gear was up to the occasion but the open-faced helmet I was wearing was no match for the pounding rain and I was unable to see well enough to continue. On this trip I'd packed fairly light as I hadn't expected to be gone long so as a concession to the wide variation in weather I'd brought two helmets, one designed for warm sunny stuff and one for nasty rainy stuff. I stopped and switched them out and was thankful I'd had the room for both, I could see clearly again and the added bit of warmth was welcome.

I arrived home at 5:00 pm just slightly behind the GPS predicted time and saw by my daily trip indicator I'd covered 543 miles with a total of 3,380 miles for the trip. That averages out to a comfortable 375 miles per day which is pretty typical for me. Linda and Riley were gone to Coos Bay to visit her daughter so it was only Toby on hand to greet me but his enthusiasm was more than enough as a 'Welcome Home'!

This is Toby, now at age 3. He's a typical Aussie, hyper active and slightly crazy. He has 2 speeds, dead stopped and flat out. We love him, he's our protector. He's also a bit cowardly but no one knows that.

This is Riley, age 4. He's supposed to be half Aussie and half Collie. Is he goofy looking or what? He's the world's biggest tail wagger and needs to be within 2 feet of us at all times. He loves everyone. 

So that’s it, I had a good time, the riding was excellent and I accomplished what I'd set out to do; namely get El Nino properly exported out of Mexico and myself as well. Should I decide to return again I'll be able to do so without any red tape at the border and who knows, maybe one day I just might.



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