Rain. And wind. And more rain.

Trip Start Aug 04, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This ride started out okay. It was overcast and slightly raining. I made it to Raymond, Oregon near Willapa Bay before stopping for breakfast. Turns out that this is the Oyster Capital of the US, so I just had to have the special, a fried oyster and bacon omelet. These oysters were big and dark and had a mineral/cold black mud taste, a far cry from the sweet, tender oysters from Apalachicola Bay, Florida. But they were very nourishing, and little did I know that I'd need my strength. I headed down coastal Route 101, hoping that the weather would hold - but it didn't. It got cold, and started raining. Then the worst part - gusting crosswinds, must have been up to 40 mph.

101 is VERY coastal, as in exposed winding roadway along the cliffs of the Pacific coast. The gusts were pushing me around my lane unpredictably, and I was really on edge, trying to keep the bike on track. Then my visor started to fog up despite the miracle anti-fogger that I had purchased at a NY bike shop, so I couldn't see too well either. There were no rest stops or gas stations, just scenic turnouts. At one point I stopped at one to take a break but found the gusts just as bad. I had both feet planted to keep the bike upright, and for a minute couldn't get moving again because I couldn't lift my leg to put the bike into gear, for fear of getting blown over. (which, just for the record, would not have been the end of the world, just very unpleasant).

Note: The gyroscopic action of turning motorcycle wheels stabilizes the bike against crosswinds, so when you encounter them, don't slow down too much. Better yet, Rule 1: when in doubt, gas it. And you thought I was being facetious.

I finally made it to this Sea Lion Cave tourist attraction, where I got a cup of coffee and a piece of fudge, relaxed a bit and thought through my options. To be brief, I'll resort to a bulleted approach
- Visor fogging. I figured that the spray I was using was water soluble and washing away. I had a waxy version as well, and applied this.
- Riding in gusts. I thought about bad traction situations, and remembered my dirt riding skills (thanks Lex!). Cornering in the dirt is very different from cornering on the street, and it's basically a function of the speed you're traveling. On the street, you lean your body into the turn to help overcome the bike's gyroscopic stability. In the dirt, you actually push the bike into the turn while keeping your body upright, in order to counteract the lack of gyroscopic stability due to the slow speed. So I resolved to ride dirt bike style going forward.
- The route. Heading to the highway, and later back to the coast, would add at least 2 hours to my ride, since I wanted to end up back at the coast the following day. I basically said screw it, this weather is not going to stop me. It's a windy, rainy day - get over it.

So I headed back out. the weather still sucked, but the riding was easier, and the anti-fog was working! 2 hours later when I crossed the bridge into Coos Bay, the rain let up and it looked as if it hadn't rained there all day. I felt glad, and vindicated. That night I finally saw the Dark Knight, which sucked, except for the creepy Joker performance. But I still enjoyed it.
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