Miles today: 330 Total miles: 1,669
Made it to Austin! Yesterday was a battle for most of the way against
wind and cold. Temps were in the low 40's when I started out around
noon after a really nice mass at St. Theresa parish in Sulfer, LA. I
don't think I've given a detailed description of temperatures and
their relationship to motorcycle riding, so I think I'll do that here.
From hot to cold, omitting temps above 80 or so because I've only
ridden in those conditions briefly when I first got the bike and I
just remember that anything over 80 was awesome. I'll also preface
this by saying that I probably hate the cold more than the next guy -
I'll take temps around 100 over temps in the 40's any day.
70's: Very comfortable. Summer (thinner) gloves and vents on the
jacket open. Maybe one thin sweater if travelling at high speeds for
60's: Nice. Probably winter gloves in this range, definitely so in the
lower 60's. Vents on the jacket closed and at least one sweater type
High 50's: Cool but comfortable. Winter gloves, leg coverings (chaps
or leather pants) probably a couple layers under the jacket.
Low 50's: getting cold. With all the gear mentioned above, your hands
are still going to be cold after 30 or 40 miles unless your gloves are
much better than mine or electrically heated.
High 40's: Ok, it's cold. All the above gear and if you can go for
more than 40 miles in one stretch, you're a better man/woman than I.
Low 40's: I would rather not be out riding right now, thank you very
much. My hands freeze after 10 or 15 miles in this weather, so I have
to stop every 15-20 miles to warm them up if I'm not able to do so at
traffic lights. Otherwise it's a little dangerous to be on the bike
and not have your hands able to function.
30's: I can go a couple miles, tops, but that's it. And I'm only going
anywhere if absolutely necessary.
So now that you've got an idea of what I'm talking about, it was in
the upper 30's when I got up around 8 and warmed to about 42 by noon.
So I was hopping from town to town, stopping at most of them to get a
coffee to put my hands around. Around 2 or so it got up to the 50's
and I was able to get going pretty well, but then the coffee caught up
to me and I had to stop a few more times. Around this time, I looked
out west at the horizon and saw a break in the clouds maybe 50 miles
away and did a little fist pump that the weather was going to warm.
Well for the rest of the day I chased that break in the clouds like a
carrot on a stick, and finally caught it after the sun went down. It
did get more comfortable later on, when I got closer to Austin, temps
in the high 50's.
Ok on to the wind. Ever get bounced around on a freeway in a car?
Imagine what that wind would do if you took away 3/4 of the weight of
your car. It's also a heck of an experence to go 70 mph down the
freeway and have a 20 mph headwind. I was very happy to get off the
freeway once I got into Texas.
When I got into Texas, there was a sign that said "Beaumont 26 miles,
El Paso 872 miles." I think somebody at the DOT has a sense of humor.
I made it into Austin around 9:30 last night and stayed with sharon's
uncle in downtown Austin. I got a shower and went to sleep right after.
I changed the oil on the bike this morning in the parking lot of a Wal-
Mart and had some lunch. Now I'm ready to set out for what I've heard
is one of the most monotonous terrain on earth. Wish me luck.
The plan is now to get to Vegas by Wednesday night, which I'm pretty
sure I can do. I'll probably be camping somewhere in west Texas