I woke up to the sound of rain and thunder again yesterday morning. There’s not much that puts a damper on a day for a motorcycle trip like waking up to rain and thunder. Thankfully, I was prepared for this, as I had watched the news the night before enough to see that scattered showers were forecast. So I looked at the radar and instead of admitting defeat and climbing into the Toyota to drive to my conference in Northwest Arkansas, I waited out the storm. When I first began riding a motorcycle, several years ago, I had a rule to not ride in rain. That lasted until my first long trip, when I discovered that when rain comes and you have no safe place to pull over, the ability to ride in rain with confidence and even comfort becomes pretty important. So now my rule is to watch the radar and no not ride in anything colored red or worse on the radar map. My phone rests attached to my handlebars on a RAM mount where I can monitor the radar as I go, so if I see that red or purple is crossing my path ahead, I will seek shelter beforehand. That worked out well on this trip and I managed to avoid the heaviest rains. Lib and I have learned this the hard way, though, having ridden through heavy rains where cars were pulling to the sides of the road, and having been soaked through to the skin on more than one occasion. I still haven’t discovered the best way to keep water from coming in at my waist, between my waterproof pants and waterproof jacket . . .
Once I made it to Rogers, I caught the opening session of the conference and then moved on to the BMW shop in Bentonville. The guys that run this shop are great people and deserve your business if you need good motorcycle stuff. They took my bike in to fix a fuel sensor problem and some parasitic staples that had found my tire somewhere in south Louisiana. (yes, I carried them in the tire that long – air wasn’t leaking as long as they were lodged in) Anyway – they gave me a loaner bike for the night. She was lovely. Smooth lines, nice curves, plenty of torque and horsepower, a nice growl . . . I hate to admit it, but I became . . . interested. I inquired of the price and the guys at the shop initially said they would let it go for my bike plus $500. After some time, they agreed to an even trade for Lib. I was conflicted. I didn’t want to give up Lib, but the new one would be a change of pace. I began to rationalize – to justify. “It wouldn’t cost anything.” “It would keep me on pavement, which is safer.” “It is cleaner and shifts like butter. . .” But then the truth began ringing in my ears: it would require higher octane gas, it was more top heavy, I would go faster on road. It wasn’t Lib. I and the guys in the shop agreed that a man shouldn’t be limited to one bike anymore than a woman should be limited to one purse. Three is a pretty good number –
One for road, one for dirt, and one for cruising.
But that’s too much. I don’t have the money or the garage space, and I wouldn’t want to keep any of them outside. So I stuck with good ole Lib. Again. Sometimes I feel guilty for my wandering eye, but then I see something like this and I indulge. I can’t help looking.
I always come back to Lib though. We’ve been through hard rain, sleet, long trips, nasty mud, gnarly rocks and heavy traffic. I know where everything goes and she responds well to my every request. So tomorrow, I’ll attend my final class and then mount up for a hopefully pleasant ride home. Maybe we’ll even find a little dirt, because we can.