By February 16, 2006

Blizzard, my ass!

Throughout all of last week we were forecast to get up to 5″ of snow. This is a big deal to the Richmond area. The idea of 5″ of snow sent the town into a panic. The grocery stores were completely ransacked. OMG SNOW! Suburbanites stocked their pantries with Teddy Grahams and other vital survival food. In rolled the cold temps and clouds …. Then Great Richmond Blizzard of 2006 threw down a mighty 1/2″ of snow. Followed by a day of rain and then temperatures in the 60s. It’s February, and I saw some guy wearing shorts. Thank god we bought up all the bottled water, Betty Lou Rae!

I took advantage of the nice weather and motored down to see my friend Stilts for the day. I dressed for a cold ride, just in case there was a big temperature difference between here and Williamsburg. I wore a long sleeve compression shirt, a tshirt, my fleece vest, then my leather jacket and pants. Even though I would be riding during daylight hours I wore my reflective vest anyway. I swear that thing wards off evil.

I took Route 5 to Williamsburg, which meant I took a toll road along the way. At first I thought I was going to get the gas-face for holding up the process (I have to put my bike in neutral and fish out some cash from my vest pocket). However, the tollbooth attendants were super friendly along all of the stops. This is my opposite experience from traveling in a car. Maybe bikes don’t blow lots of exhaust in their face, or maybe people just like to smile at bikers. Anyway, it was a small pleasure.

The weather, of course, was beautiful. Route 5 is a single lane highway that winds through some farmland. Aside from a drawbridge, there’s nothing too terribly noteworthy, or dangerous, about the drive. The posted limit is 55 in most spots, and I cruised right along with little interruption at 70+. Just like with every car I’ve ever owned, Cylon has a “sweet spot” at which he likes to run. By yesterday’s jaunt I’m guessing it’s 72MPH. I had to pass a few vehicles, and I was pleasantly reminded at how fast this bike can wind up. In the span of four car lengths, I could blast up to 90+ MPH. This was particularly important during the very short period I was on I-95. I hate being next to semi trucks or SUV/vans with mommy + babies inside. Neither of those vehicles really pay attention to motorcycles, and a quick burst of speed can get me away from those troublemakers.

Driving in Williamsburg was actually the most dangerous part of my trip. Right before I hit the town proper, a gravel truck came barreling out of a construction site and into my lane. I don’t think the guy saw me, he just hammered the gas. By the time he merged into my lane he was probably 60 feet away and doing half my speed. The only reason I didn’t wind up in trouble was because the truck was churning up a huge amount of dust. I said to myself, “Self, what the fuck is all that dust?” and started to slow down.

The town of Williamsburg, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the place, is populated by three kinds of people: college students, tourists for Colonial Williamsburg, and really really old people. They may have been the original settlers for all I know. If you combine the demographics of the place you wind up with some unfriendly motorcycling conditions. Students anxious to get to class stepped out in front of me . Tourons speed up and then come to a full stop in the middle of the road, signal left, and turn right. The elderly put their blinders on and gunned it through intersections, unwilling to turn their heads to look for oncoming traffic.

I didn’t let this get me down, though. Living in the area for five years had conditioned me to this kind of asshattery, and I laughed more than I shook my head. What did I care? The weather was awesome and I was going to see one of my best friends.

Stilts and I had lunch at 2nd Street, one of my old haunts. They make really good burgers. We had lunch, I downed some water and some coffee, and then I made my way home. The trip back was just as beautiful as the way down. I got home just in time for Lady Jaye to go to work, and instead of wishing her goodbye I drove her to work in the Solstice. I hadn’t seen her all day and I didn’t want her to start her shift without getting a chance to chat.

All in all, an awesome day. Dear Weatherman: please forecast more snow 🙂

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