Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Ride Gone Bad Part 1


A Ride Gone Bad Part 1
It all started on a gloomy rainy Saturday morning with plans for my son Jake and I to take a short ride down to Cresson Texas to the Central Motorcycle Roadracing Association bike races. I planned on leaving early enough to get there for the opening mini races. The weather forecast for that morning said scattered showers for the morning and a lessor chance for the evening. There were also flash flood warnings for the area we were riding to. On top of that there was also a cool front coming in the afternoon.

I loaded 4 water bottles in my left saddle bag and my mesh jacket in the other with the liner, just in case it got cold. I also grabbed the camera and stowed it in a zip lock freezer bag for water protection in the saddlebag. I put on my riding boots, my new Frogg Toggs, which my son had given me, and my half helmet with clear glasses. I also grabbed my old frogg toggs pants to give to Jake to ride in. I had lost the jacket that went with them one day on my ride to work when my saddlebag had flown open.

It was raining when I left the house on my V-Star 1100 Classic. I rode two blocks before turning around to go back home to switch to my full face helmet. That done I headed to Jakes house on the other side of Bedford. As I pulled up he was in the garage to greet me and he put on my old frogg toggs pants and his mesh jacket with water proof liner. Before we left I told him we had no time deadlines and take it easy on the speed going down to Cresson figuring he local authorities new which days the races were as well. He would lead and I would follow him.

Jake put on his Bell Full-face and fired up his Kawasaki Vulcan 750 and we left Bedford Texas and headed down westbound 183 Airport Freeway towards Fort Worth where we hopped on I35W heading south with the rain stinging my unprotected hands. A little ways down we pulled over for refueling. It was still raining and very gloomy out. I dug out the camera and snapped a picture while there. After we both filled up I packed up the camera again and we headed south again. It was still raining.

Then we picked up I20 headed east as the rain seemed to pick up a little. We rode I20 to Benbrook where we headed south on 377. The sky just kept getting darker and darker and the rain was increasing in intensity. I could feel the sting of the cold raindrops through the frogg toggs. The black carpeting of clouds covered us and occasionally I thought I heard thunder and saw lightning off in the distance.

Jake reported later that he thought he saw a wall cloud off to our left trying to shape into a tornado. The rain was coming down with so much ferocity now that you could not see the white lines on the road. I noticed it looked like he was following some of the other vehicles a little closer than he should be considering the weather and made a mental note to mention it to him later.

Then the rain let up a little and we were in Cresson. We found the road off to the left going to the racetrack and followed it up to the gate. It was still raining. The people at the gate said to come back after the rain stops so we left to search out a dry spot. My feet and boots were soaked by now and I was sure Jake was probably in worse shape. Cresson was not much of a city but we found a Subway restaurant open so we turned in there.

We walked into the Subway dripping wet taking off our helmets while the young guy at the counter just looked at us like we were crazy. We apologized for the water we dripped everywhere and ordered some breakfast things that actually turned out to not be that bad. We sat down at the table to talk while the food was prepared and Jake was worse off than me for sure. Water has gotten under his jacket from the bottom side and had wicked underneath his frogg toggs pants and his blue jean pants were soaked. He had on a pair of waterproof hiking boot type shoes but that did not keep water from splashing in over the top and they held the water in. He went into the restroom to drain the water out of his boots.

We ate our food and talked while watching the few vehicles going by on 377. While we contemplated our next move we saw an ambulance, lights a flashing, speeding by. Foreshadowing perhaps? We stayed there for a little over an hour watching the huge storm over the internet on our phones. The storm looked like it was not in any hurry to get by and was massive in size and severity so we decided to head home.

We donned all our soggy gear again and left the cover of the Subway restaurant venturing back out into the storms teeth to head for home. I felt goose bumps building on my forearms because it was considerably cooler out now making me wish I had my mesh jacket and liner on underneath my frogg toggs. It was still raining as we headed north on 377. It was then I remembered that I had forgotten to tell Jake to allow more distance between himself and the traffic in front of him, not that this would have made any difference in the outcome later.

As we got closer to Burleson the rain slowed down a little and the traffic increased. The further north we went the cooler it got as well. The frequency of traffic lights increased the closer we got into Burleson as well.

This is where things started to unravel ….

To Be Continued…..

Ride on,