Journal of the Rain Riders

Donna Warren

Our trip home was between 200 and 300 miles depending on where we live. I happen to live the the furthest south which, in this case, was the longest distance. You know, I don't usually mind getting wet or riding in the rain (I normally won't get up early or skip breakfast to avoid it), but I could have done without 300 miles of rain. Even so, all in all it was a fun trip.

It has been at least 10 years since I rode 300 miles in the rain. You know after the first gas stop Sunday morning, I wasn't sure I was going to make it because by the time we stopped and I put on my rain coat, both of my shirts were already soaked and I had a bad case of the chills. Cath had offered to let Alex and me stay at her house if we didn't want to ride all the way home (Thanks, Cath) and I was seriously considering it.

But thanks to Laura insisting we stop and eat something, I was fine. The hot tea, hot cream of broccoli soup and salad with a salsa dressing banished the chills. And, of course, by then I was wide awake. I didn't get cold again until I hit monsoon rains a few miles south of Barbara's that lasted for almost 30 miles before starting to let up.

The rain was so heavy that I was passing stopped cars. The car drivers couldn't see because it was raining so hard. But, thanks to my PANOPTX goggles, which I love, I had absolutely no trouble seeing. Not that I could see more than 10 feet ahead of me. But, since I was traveling at 15 mph, 10 feet of visibility worked.

I took the picture on the left with my camera phone. I don't remember where we were at the time. I only took one picture because I was afraid of dropping the phone while I was riding. Believe it or not, that smudge in the center lane is a motorcycle.

I had dropped back a little because I was messing with my phone so I could take the picture. Unfortunately, on most of this trip our visibility wasn't this good.

A lot of email was sent among our group of rain riders after we got home and I've taken a few excerpts from the correspondence to share.

From Laura: Sunday....well it wasn't as bad as it could have been. We made good time, the roads even in the rain were scenic.

From Jean: Great time even in the rain. I don't have a problem admitting that I was extremely nervous prior to our first pit-stop Sunday. Thanks to Gloria and Barbara for helping to calm my nerves!!!! I felt a little better the remaining 200+ miles.

From Gloria: I had a really good time riding with everyone this weekend. I have to tell you I love being a part of such a "hardy" group of gals with loads of riding skills to boot!

From Cath: I had a good time overall. I didn't mind the rain that much except for the 10 minutes of acupuncture rain. Once you're wet you're wet.

As the monsoon rains subsided a little on the last portion of my trip home, I stopped to get a cup of coffee to warm back up for that last 17 miles of riding. Just as I was leaving, the bike went dead. It was about 4:30 pm. My youngest son, who also rides, does all my bike maintenance. So I figured he could come and fix whatever was wrong. When I went to call him, my cell phone was dead. (I forgot to charge it Saturday night.)

The pizzeria owner let me call my son, who unknown to me, had gone to a show with his wife and brother-in-law, who was visiting for the weekend. I reached him on his cell phone and when I described the problem, he told me it sounded like my battery cables had come loose. The battery is under the seat.

A couple of guys at the pizza place tried to help me but didn't have the right tools to get the seat off. I asked the owner if I could charge my cell phone so I could make some other calls. He said OK. I had another cup of coffee and chatted with some customers while the phone charged. After the phone was charged, I found out I was in a dead zone for cell phones. But I was lucky, I was on the edge of the dead zone and only had to walk about 75 feet to get service. I tried another club member who lives close to me first. Nobody was home. That's when I called Alex. Alex and John came to my rescue and I got home about 7:30 pm.

From Alex: John and I went down to where Donna was stranded and with the help of a very nice young man with a pipe wrench in his tool box, we were able to get the seat off and find that the battery terminal connections were loose! Easy to fix and we were on our way. We followed Donna home just to be sure that's all that was wrong and of course hit more heavy down pours.

From Barbara: I was exhausted when I got home! I was watching something on TV and fell asleep on the couch around 9:30 p.m. Thank God I took today off. We now have more veteran rain-riders in the Club! You just gotta do that. It's an adventure.

And we all came home safe and - wet!

That we did.

My little breakdown was annoying and inconvenient, although I did meet some very nice people. Since my youngest son and daughter-in-law live two blocks from me, I never have to rely on other people for help. This breakdown, when my son was unavailable, served to reminded me of just how important good friends really are.

Well, Barbara, did you get a good enough rain ride to last you for a while?

I know I did.

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