Sunday, January 7, 2007

Polar Bear Sunday

This was the ninth Sunday for the Polar Bear Grand Tour. The run was -- for us -- a total of 146 round-trip miles to Vineland, NJ. It was to be the first long ride for Jane who had her total knee replacement exactly two months ago.

It has been quite warm in the East. Yesterday it was over 70 degrees. Today, the temperature dropped a full 20 degrees. That meant wearing electrics for the ride. We started out on a fretful note when we stopped for gas. With two trikes, I usually pull in first, fill up, lay the hose down on the ground, get on the trike, move it ahead a trike length and return to fill up the second trike. This time, we had a problem.

The gas filler door on the Gold Wing is opened using the bike key. For some reason, the key wouldn't fit in the keyhole and wouldn't open the door. I had visions of not being able to take the trip because I couldn't get any gas in the trike. Then Jane pulled at the top edge of the door and it popped open. Turns out that the key isn't really necessary. Just push up the upper border of the door and pry it open with your fingernail.

We got about 50 miles down the road when Jane starts complaining about a lack of heat. We pull off into a side street and I check all the connections and only find one a bit loose and tighten it. We head off again and she says that the heat is back. Then after another five miles, she is again cold from lack of heat.

When we got to the destination, I ask again about the heat and she pulls her glove off and says, "Feel my hand. It's cold." Turns out when we did finally get back home this afternoon, that the battery connection seems open. Either a fuse or a bad connection. I'll look at it when it gets a bit warmer.

While at the destination, I take pictures that will go on the Polar Bear Grand Tour Web site, as I always do. While walking around in the parking lot, I see a trike going by with a wheelchair folded against the backside. Inside, I hear that the rider is from Maryland. He can't get upstairs to sign in because he has no legs. I'm promised some pictures later.

There was a big turnout. The parking lot was filled. I noticed a bike with a big "RN" painted on the gas tank. Underneath it said Registered Nurse. It was ridden by a registered nurse who worked in an ER.

I tend to observe things that no one else sees. I found two groups of riders who had different ways of getting back on the road to return home. One was a group of BMW riders. The other was a group of Harley riders.

The BMW riders pulled out of the parking lot and moved across to the side of the road in a straight line. They waited until their whole group had done the same thing and all the riders were lined up parallel to the road. Then when it was clear, the lead rider pulled out and all the riders pulled out behind him. The Harley riders had another way.

They all pulled up to the road together in a row. Then when it was clear, they all moved out together making a left hand turn and ending up in a line on the road.

At least that's my recollection of what happened. I could be wrong.

Jane realized today that her knee isn't ready for riding much longer than 50 miles. For awhile, she intends to use the car for Polar Bear runs. Hopefully, she will be getting back to the trike and increasing her distance. Otherwise, going the 275 miles to the Americade rally in June is going to take a long time if we have to stop for the night after only 50 miles.

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