Friday, October 13, 2006
"The Comeuppance Tour" or "Still Lucky"
This was the last long ride of the season, and we started off on Friday in a chill October rain, on the theory that the weather would change by the time we reached the mountains. After all, hadn't we ridden 2,600+ miles this summer with only a half hour of rainy road? Weren't we lucky? Weren't we invincible?
Theory tested and discarded: by the time we reached the mountains, the rain had grown both heavier and colder, verging on icy. We rode with three other couples, and all agreed that it was about the most severe weather they'd ever endured on two wheels. We wore full leathers, layers, and rainsuits and were still uniformly frozen and soaked by the time we reached our rented cabin in the West Virginia mountains. Our goggles were opaque with beaded water; fingers, stiff inside icy wet gauntlets, could not obey brains and brains were not doing so great, either. And then it got dark. Wet, feezing, hungry, exhausted--this was comeuppance in spades for all those days last summer when we cheated fate--riding dry and blithe while storms raged all around us.
But we WERE lucky, actually: Nothing developed that woodfires and sleep and hot food couldn't mend, although it took two days for our leathers to dry. Weather on Saturday was still spitting rain and we shopped for food and then holed up in front of the fireplace, resting, reading, talking, and watching movies. On Saturday night, although it was still damp and frosty, we bundled up and scooted five minutes down the road to the nearest restaurant which--lucky again!--turned out to have acceptable food and a more than acceptable blues/rock band (Macho Willy!) playing.
Sunday and Monday were ideal, as these pictures show. Here you see: our dripping leather laid out to dry in front of the woodburning stove downstairs; the cabin; mountain roads wreathed in autumnal glory; Drew gassing up the Road King; my Dream House (note exterior woodburning furnace); river glimpsed through bridge-lattice; a visiting deer who discovered that garlic croutons were dee-licious; a window looking out into the forest; general store at Seneca Rocks and the formidible Rocks themselves.