“Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly. “ ~ Anon ~
You would think if you were taking your own picture for a “selfie” that you could delete it and try again if you didn’t find it flattering. Well, I took two as we geared up for pending rain on the Blue Ridge Parkway and didn’t have time for too many options, but this one fits in the continuation of our August vacation, so I’m posting it “as is.”
My husband and I had just spent time with family in Virginia and were now heading for Asheville. Our plan was to take two days to get there – ride the Blue Ridge Parkway and spend time in the Smokies. We were concerned about rain. We stopped to put rain gear on, but I was hoping it wouldn’t last long if it did rain. And then the drops started.
It wasn’t too bad – we seemed to weave in and out of it as we headed up the Parkway and at times it wasn’t raining at all. We pulled off several times to enjoy the sights.
And Greg was a sport for this photo!
But do you see the fog we are about to ride into?
This was the beginning of a really bad experience. The fog was an indication that we were up in the cloud – when we rode out of the cloud, we were then in heavy rain.
We didn’t know that this was the last time we would be able to pull off the road. From here on in we could not see where the side of the road was. There was no way to exit, so I had to “Keep Calm and Ride On.”
My goal was to just keep Greg’s taillights in sight as we continued on the parkway. It was really difficult when he would round a curve, but we were traveling at a very low speed and I think I was in 2nd gear the whole way. As the road curved, we would be in a stretch of clouds and then a stretch of rains – then back again. This continued for over an hour. We could communicate with the headsets in our helmets and Greg encouraged me as I kept telling him it was a nightmare.
Finally we were able to leave the Parkway. The Hampton Inn that we had booked in Roanoke Virginia was only 5 miles away. Hurray – out of the mountains and out of the rain! I was getting my confidence back.
So this would be a good spot to end this post, right?
Sorry – there’s a little more story to tell.
As we rode into Roanoke and joined heavier traffic, I watched as the light ahead at the bottom of a hill turned from green to yellow. Because of my momentum, I told Greg, “I’m going.” He said, “I’m not.” Thinking he knew better than I did, I went to brake. My bike fishtailed, fell to the left, I slid off, and then my bike slid into his bike. Greg’s bike went down and my bike then flipped to the other side. A police car immediately pulled out into the intersection to stop all traffic. He happened to be sitting in the front of oncoming traffic. Greg and I both stood up and walked to our bikes to survey the damage. I think the wet roads actually spared us injuries. The knee in my rainsuit tore, but that’s about it for me.
As for my bike, the engine guards were scraped on both sides,
the side bags were marred,
and a light was broke,
but I would say if you can walk away from this, you were pretty lucky. Glue and paint can go a long way. The policeman did not ask for anything from us. He just wanted us to move our bikes off of the road. With cars stopped in all four directions, I must tell you that the only one that helped us pick up our motorcycles was an older homeless man that had been standing on the corner. He gathered up everything that had scattered out of my bike and helped Greg with the lifting. He was our angel that day.
We stayed an extra day in Roanoke to decompress and have the bike checked out by an authorized mechanic.
And what did I learn from this? Once you make a decision, commit to it. And I’ve always said I’m a fair weather rider – I also love our Florida flatlands!