March 15-20, 2017 - MN to Daytona Beach; No Trailers Allowed!
Here it is, April in Minnesota and I already have 5,100 miles on this year! I don't know where time went or how that happened! Started out the riding season just putzing around Central MN - there was still quite a bit of sand on the roads in February, so cornering was slow and cautious to say the least. Eager for an amazing riding season and only 33k and change - my bike is still a baby!!
I have been fortunate/spoiled in the last few years, to have my first motorcycle in FL to use at my leisure. While I tried not to take that for granted, this was the first year of not having that luxury, therefore going to be the first year I miss Daytona Bike Week in ?? years. I was brainstorming ways to make it all work, but reality is, March in MN is not a personality to mess with! Well, a little over a week prior to Daytona week, the boy and I were out riding in 60 degree MN weather, when I mentioned that I was bummed to miss out on FL this year, and he said what I had been secretly thinking (secretly because I thought if I said it out loud 'crazy' would be my confirmed nickname) - "we could ride there!" In the glorious sunshine and warm temps (for MN), this sounded like a GREAT idea! Well, with schedules and obligations, we decided we would have to hustle to make it work. Like, get there and back within 5.5 days. I look at google maps and see 'it's only 1,582 miles'. "totally do-able" we both say. Next thing we know, we are prepping to RIDE to Florida, from MN, in mid-March. The odds were NOT in our favor, but we kept our rose colored shades on. Naturally, the temps went from the 60's.. to the 40's... to the 20's... and the forecast for the day we were going to leave? A HIGH of 13 degrees. Before windchill. Shit. I do NOT have the gear for this and I am a cold weather baby... so two nights before we were going to leave, I frantically googled gear shops that were open NOW to go buy heated gear. Amazon was going to be my best chance - so I ordered a heated vest, heated gloves, and heated chaps liners. I had no idea how to prepare for riding in THIRTEEN degrees! And wouldn't you know, two nights before we were to leave, not only did it start FREEZIng, it also snowed. We had green grass the day prior, but of course now its COLD and snow. Determination kept us in rose colored glasses land. How bad could it be? After all, there was NO way we could trailer there - that just seemed lame. *I admit, I did research trailer hitches for my Corolla....and also Uhaul trailers* My heated gear from Amazon came in, and there were so many wires and connectors and instructions I was 100% confused and frustrated. And the chaps liners didn't fit. So the NIGHT before we were to leave for Daytona, I was scrambling to the other side of the metro to get different chaps liners, which thankfully, I found (Bob's Cycle Supply SAVED the day!). The boy discovered he has a herniated disc 2 weeks prior to this grand idea, and although he got a shot for it, I thought if his back froze up (literally) - he would be unable to move at all. So I got him a heated vest too. (Nice GF that I am... and also, I didn't want to haul his bike and body back so...)... After running across the metro for heated gear, it was nearing 10pm and I needed to pack. Yep, hadn't started. How does one pack for 'no' degrees?? The forecast kept getting more grim... as in, the high was now EIGHT degrees. 8. Like 24 degrees colder than frozen. Thoughts going through my brain: Will the bikes even run? How fast does one develop frostbite on showing skin in 8 degrees while riding 65/75 down the freeway? How do you cover EVERY piece of skin on your body? Where does it start getting warmer? What are we going to do if and when we die? .... Turns out my parents were thinking all of the same things, but they are so great, and so supportive of my borderline insanity, they asked some questions with 'positivity' in their voices. I checked with Siri at midnight to see if there was any good weather news... Nope. Even Siri wouldn't do it.
After packing, getting the house ready to leave, and dilly dallying around, I went to bed around 4am, to get up at 6am to RIDE my bike to FL in March.
And the temp stayed true to the estimate - it was EIGHT degrees outside. I rode a whoopin 30 miles from my house to Lakeville to meet the boy - I couldn't figure out how to connect all of the cords and gadgets and adapters so I turned the heated vest and chaps liners on, figured I would have the boy hook up the gloves when I met him. It wasn't 'that' far. Meanwhile, there's rush hour in the city at 8am. My hands were honestly NUMB by the time I hit mile 14... and now I have to hold in the clutch constantly because traffic is brutal. Finally made it to Lakeville. Not any warmer there... As I rolled into the gas station, tears were trying to form, but instead, they just made icicles on my eyelashes and froze there without a chance to fall down my face. I have never had such pain before - I couldn't take my own glove off because my right had was SO painful. I went to move a newspaper to sit down inside and just touching that made me bust into tears because it HURT so bad to touch 'air' - I couldn't believe how much it hurt. The boy was SO sweet... he gassed my bike up. Tried to make me laugh. Said he wouldn't blame me if I changed my mind on going. Me: I WANT TO QUIT! Me: You signed up for this! You're committed now!!! How bad can it be? It's got to get warmer soon! So, once feeling returned to my hand (at least 25 mins), and once we hooked up all of the gear, we headed south, towards wishful thinking warm FL. I've never been SO cold in my life. Heat cranked in all of the gear and I could barely tell. EIGHT degrees and 70mph+ on the freeway = dying a slow, cold death inside. Iowa must be warmer, right? Yep. 13 degrees. My dad wanted to be kept in the loop of our location the whole way - at one point, he said that he had gotten the truck 'ready to go' with the trailer. He also recommended snowmobile suits to help stay warm. He knows me well enough to know that he wouldn't be using the truck and trailer unless something dire happened... but I could just see him shaking his head while smirking a little. Anyways, we left the metro at 8:30am and at 11:45 we hit Iowa. STILL cold. But, as my dad said, on the bright side, there were no bugs! By 2:30p we hit Waterloo - we were stopping every hour to heat up, gas up, and thaw our brains a little. 22 degrees in Waterloo! You can't tell, but there is a SMILE on my face!
By afternoon we hit St Louis and it was a 'comfortable' 33 degrees. and then a quick shot of the arch
And then my phone literally froze to death - so good timing on that! Quite possibly THE craziest odometer photo ever. Well... by far the coldest! We kept on truckin and finally couldn't take the cold and the shakes and the fresh air anymore - we landed in Troy, IL for the night. 587 miles in temps ranging from EIGHT degrees to a balmy, warm 33 degrees. I still wasn't turning off any of the heated gear though! We had hoped to make it farther that day, but considering the elements we were up against, nearly 600 miles wasn't too shabby! Only 900 left! I brought my "Nice Trailer You Pussy" shirt, but, oddly enough we didn't see a single motorcycle (or trailer) today! To be continued......