Weather in Texas is an interesting thing. Yeah, I know we talk about it too much, but what the hell else are we going to talk about in a world where many people are so determined to be offended by something that even the mention of the word “Christmas” sends them into a foaming at the mouth frenzy? (and of course their counterparts are severely offended by the phrase “Happy Holidays” to a ridiculous level).
I mean, what the heck am I supposed to say? “Merry New Thanksmas Chrisyear?”
Oh, and as an aside: Merry Christmas AND Happy Holidays! Offended? Well, you’re working too hard at it. Get over it. Life's so much bigger than that.
Anyway, I digress, as usual.
Where was I? Oh yes, the weather. Well, that and motorcycles of course. Who do you think you’re talking to here?
I’ll ride in any conditions...it’s required in order to do any kind of serious miles, but that said, I’ll tend to avoid commuting to work on the bike if it’s raining cats and dogs outside (bugs in my teeth are bad enough...picking dogs and cats out takes some serious flossing). Heck, just last week I took Big Iron (the truck) to work instead of the bike...the 19 degrees and 20 full miles of black-ice between me and the job being the main factor in that decision.
The problem is, here in Texas anyway; you cannot depend on the weather forecasts. There are two groups of people trying to issue them--weathermen and meteorologists.
“Weatherman” apparently means they have a dartboard with various predictions on it and they are not very good at darts. THOCK! “Hey, I hit the corner of the board! That’s marked ‘scattered showers’. Better issue a tornado warning!”
“Meteorologist” means they couldn’t afford the dartboard after paying for that degree, but they are actually slightly better at predictions because they DO still have the darts and also merit a window in their office. SMASH! TINKLE! “Hey! My dart went out the window! OMG! What the HELL is that? Is that a cloud? It is! It is! A cloud! Agggghhh! Issue a winter storm warning! Buy batteries! Boil some water! Hide the children!”
Have I digressed again?
Back to the point. If I didn’t ride when they predicted nasty weather...I’d never get to ride.
So, all this leads to, The Wet Driveway Principle. I came up with that many years ago to describe my decisions regarding the weather when I start out on a trip or commute.
Basically, if the driveway is NOT wet, I ride. I completely ignore the forecasts, except strictly as entertainment value.
Then there’s this morning. It rained...at least I guess I can call it that. The driveway was wet anyway.
I stepped out into the warm balmy air and stared up at the full moon peeking through the clouds. It seemed to me that this event was over, but the weather guys had been too busy predicting sleet and snow for next weekend to bother to talk about NOW.
Hmmm...The Wet Driveway Principle should apply. The driveway was, after all, wet. That little smidgeon of rain would bring out the worst on the highway too. Oil and diesel fuel would rise to the top but not wash off. Basically as bad as it gets without there actually being ice...or fire. We had some of that last week too, but that would be another story.
I inhaled deeply of the early morning air. Balmy nights in December. Gotta love those Texas winters. My hands were shaking and deep within my soul the passion stirred. I fired up the mp3 player--12 hours of my favorite music in essentially random order--just to see what it selected.
Time for Me to Fly by REO Speedwagon was its most appropriate selection.
I'm thinkin' the thing is just plain evil. My throttle hand was twitching.
I looked again at the wet driveway and grumbled softly to myself, “The hell with it.” I hopped on the bike and headed downtown at what was no doubt an unsafe speed. The lonely wail of the big Valkyrie’s engine echoed off the concrete walls of the deserted freeways and the moon raced me through the cityscape.
As for The Wet Driveway Principle? Well, for today anyway, it’ll have to be the Kind-of Wet Driveway Principle, or maybe the Almost Not Wet Driveway Principle.
Whatever. As long as I get to ride.
I’ll see you on the (almost not wet) road.