Last night I was in Hartford, Connecticut missing my Kawasaki Vulcan a lot. Earlier while riding my Vulcan on the Natchez Trace, I’d received a call about doing a training. Because I needed money then, I said yes. When I said yes, that meant I could be at a major airport in March so they could consider me to be available for the roll-out training for NAMI (something or other, the program was to be named later). I chose the Houston Airport. There was a covered parking lot I could leave my Kawasaki Vulcan in and I wanted to get back to warm weather as soon as possible.
So, last night I was in Hartford, it was cold, icy, and snowy. The van got stuck in the drive of the retreat center.
At the end of the training, standing in the Hartford Airport, I was told my flight was cancelled, Dreaming of getting back to my Kawasaki Vulcan, I was booked on a flight for today, but it would land just before 5PM.
They lied. I landed around 11:30 at night. Plus, while on the plane, there’d been an explosion of communication from NAMI. The hour got later as I sat in the airport, trying to pour some oil on churning waters; I sat trying to discern just what was happening.
I got to my bike around 2AM and didn’t see things getting much better. In the parking lot, leaning against my bike I tried to find a hotel room.
It took over an hour to pack my Kawasaki Vulcan, as all my luggage needed to be switched around before I could get on the road. Heavy stuff down low, lighter stuff up. It’s now 3:00 AM, the night’s foggy with no room at the inn. I decide to move on.
An hour later, I realize what a really bad decision that was. I pull off the Interstate. My jeans and jacket are drenched from the heavy fog. I am cold. The motorcycle fairing and my helmet visor keep fogging over. Need to dig out my frogg toggs rain gear. At slow speeds I’d just pull out a rag and wipe as I ride. Why did I choose the Interstate?
My load isn’t quite right, I need to put it right. I decide to pull over to adjust my load, I can’t see and need gas. I see a sign up ahead for hotels, but after I pull off there’s no gas station. There are security guards in hotel parking lots who tell me that the hotel is full. No I can’t use their awnings to rearrange my load. Don’t I know what time is is? I think, I’m 52, fat and couldn’t run if my life depended upon it, how fricking dangerous can I be?
I find a different parking lot and pull out my laptop. I sit about six feet away from my bike, leaning up against a tree. While surfing on weather.com I glance up to see my bike sinking into the parkinglot. Being 52, fat, totally exhausted and unable to run if my life depended upon it, all I could do is watch it fall over.
I was ticked. I wanted to keep surfing on weather.com to see if the fog was something I could ride out of. Thinking of the gas that would be going all over, I get up and slowly move over to my Kawasaki Vulcan. I sigh pull the load off the bike and grin–well, I did need to reload it anyway.
It fleetingly goes through my head that I’m going to wish that I had practiced picking up my bike. (Slow to move with knees that don’t bend well, I hadn’t chosen to do so.) I’m glad I chose a lightweight bike, theKawasaki Vulcan 500, dry weight 439 pounds.
It still takes two tries to find the balance point. I manage to lever the bike back up.
I glance up as I get into my backpack and realize that security from the Holiday Inn is watching me with binoculars. That can be seen good or bad. There’s a good chance if something goes wrong the guy will at least call 911.
The bad part is; I don’t really enjoy other people watching me, ever. I’m soaking wet, no place to change clothes cause the guy’s watching, my load’s scattered across parking lot, and my actions are being watched and probably enjoyed. I tear into my duffle to get my frogg toggs. At least it’s easy to find it.
I don my frogg toggs, repack the load, and move on. I find a gas station a couple of exits later, buy a paper, read it and exhausted, fall asleep on my bike until golden arches open. I eat breakfast, drink some tea and think about taking it as easy as I can for a six hour ride that will require a lot of breaks.
The sun comes out within an hour. By 10AM it’s unbelievably hot after having been freezing in Connecticut yesterday. I take 2 or 3 naps in the sun on benches along the way.