Dec 4, 2018 – Cold Morning Ride

It’s always something. So I’m driving home from the airport in my brand new Honda CRV. There are construction vehicles everywhere working on the route one highway so that the folks from DC can efficiently jam our roadways. The peninsula is being populated faster than the roads, but I guess that’s expected.

The route one bridge entrance is going to be a royal mess once the 301 bypass (I guess that what it’s called) is completed. Just looking at it you can see the the traffic will all be dumped at the 13/1 split, and will promptly come to a halt every rush hour. Period. Then the side roads will flood with traffic from all the smart travelers, and there we’ll be.

I’m making progress in the passing lane, after inspecting my airplane and heading home. The new cylinder is on order and should be the last thing – the very last thing we need to get done. With only one thing left on the deck project and one thing left on the airplane – the two projects that have been haunting me are coming to a close.

I’m driving along at 70 mph in a 60mph zone with a cop riding my ass and literally weaving left and right to see what the hold up is. Then a dump truck from the right lane quickly gets in front of me and has the gas floored doing 62. I slow down and then……

C – R – A – C – K!!!!!! I hear a sound of a gun shot and swerve a little as I’m trying to figure out what just happened.

I’m too startled to be pissed and now realize that a very large rock as taken a divet out of my windshield. The cop behind me is really working himself into a lather trying to get around me, but I don’t accelerate.

The truck pulls back into the right lane having accomplished absolutely nothing except spending $50 of my own money on a deductible, adding to my workload, and delaying my being done with ‘projects’ a few more weeks. I consider giving him the finger as I pull in front of him and finally let dirty harry accelerate to his emergency card game. Damn it.

Just a few days after the windshield excitement we have a 60 degree day. I post on FB that I’m going for a motorcycle ride and head out.

The CRV is scheduled for a new windshield. Bev is sick, and I have a contract flight this week. I’m still trying to figure out to do the transportation, and oh, I have a tankless water heater to get repaired too.

My house has a steady stream of relatives helping Bev care for her parents while she recovers from her chest cold. Medical professionals come and go every single day. People help me constantly by leaving things where they shouldn’t be, parking in random patterns, and just being under-foot. I feel like I’m renting a room in someone else’s house at times.

I can’t scream because we need all these folks right now. Instead, I decide to get away from here for awhile and go ride the Harley. The plan is to visit airports and find an avionics shop to schedule the work I’ll need for the Twin Comanche. Red Eagle’s is my first choice for this, but they have anew location now. Dale isn’t answering his phone, so I’ll just go try and find it. It’s a beautiful day and the bike is performing even better since it came back from it’s 5000 mile service. Life is good!

Heading up Wrangle Hill Road from Chesapeake City, I am doing maybe 45 mph is a 40 zone. There is a 20 mph school zone up ahead and I know it’s active today. No point is cranking in the power only to have to brake hard in a few miles. I’m enjoying the ride and relaxing a bit.

Suddenly I pick up a car in my peripheral vision, speeding out of a development at 40 mph or so. There is no slowing and seemingly no intention of stopping before passing in front of me. She’s moving and clearly is going to create a classic T-Bone accident with me as the victim. I estimate in an instant that I’ll be laying this beautiful machine on the ground, getting myself hurt, and will have been handed yet another restoration project on one of my machines. Other people’s arrogance once again costing me time and money.

I brake hard. Very hard. Maximum braking effort. The ground is wet and I expect the bike may come out from under me on it’s own. In any event, I’ll get it as slow as I can before impact and then slide it down on my left side and separate myself from the bike before impact. I’ve drop bikes a few times and I know it won’t happen this smoothly. Regardless, you have to have a plan ready and this was mine.

No fear. No hesitation. Here comes the slide.

Amazing. Just Amazing. The braking power of this new ABS protected machine is incredible and I feel it in my arms. Micro-seconds go by and I’m actually appreciating the technology as the world slows down around me. The bike is slowing now at a tremondous rate and I start recalculating in my brain that I might ride it in now. I see the young girl clearly at this point. She is braking hard now as well.

I added some room between us by steering toward the incoming traffic while staying in my lane. I stopped completely at the same time she did, with the point of her hood a few feet from my right leg.

Thank God the guy behind me stopped, as I hadn’t considered him at all. He must have anticipated a crash from a better perspective, as he was stopped fully 200′ behind me.

I wasn’t angry at the girl, but looked her straight in the eye. I wanted to talk with her about slowing down and paying more attention, and started to dismount. She expressed the arrogance of a her age, and maneuvered her car behind me avoiding my stare. She drove away.

I regrouped for a maybe 10 seconds. An eternity in traffic time. The guy behind me just waited patiently. Whomever you are, I appreciate your attentiveness and the fact that you weren’t texting at the moment. You helped keep me unhurt and I appreciate your skill.

I hope that the event made an impression on the young driver. I really do. It certainly left an impression on me!

Cold Harley Commute: This morning I am putting on my bright green winter riding suit to go to work. It’s very COLD and I don’t have a choice. The CRV windshield is getting replaced today, and I’m riding my Harley to work and back. I’ll be extra vigilant for deer and young girls.

Training today: International Day One, and then a trip tomorrow. Life is good. I’m really interested in learning about international flying, and I like the instructor. This will be good.

Fly Safe.

Frank

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