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If You See Kay: October, 2016

By Kay Cardwell

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Yes! Our own THUNDER PRESS Managing Editor Cristy Pazera and hubby Jason Gorter are new parents. Little Laurel Catherine is a beautiful baby. Wow! Congratulations, Cristy and Jason. All is well… Happy birthday to all y’all who celebrate in October. Happy birthday to IHR members Colleen “Murph” Cuccarese in Salem, Oregon, to Jewel Kinchloe in Elma, Washington, and to Dale Visage in Medford, Oregon. Murph, it is your birthday so please give Jay a big hug from both of us. Hey, Jewel, here is a big hug around your neck. Dale, your birthday is very special because you share the day with my sister, Jackie Nobrega. Double happy birthday to Murph, Jewel and Dale. Happy birthday to members of ABATE Local 17: Bill McBride, Marshall Johnson and Linda Hines. Happy birthday to Paul Bush in Santa Cruz, to Dwain “Paper Boy” Johnson and to Sue Roi in San Jose. Happy birthday to celebrity riders Joaquin Phoenix, Alan Jackson and Dwight Yoakam… Whether you are for it or against it, it is now a done deal. Governor Brown has signed AB-51–Lane Splitting. It is now legal for a motorcycle with two wheels in contact with the ground to be driven between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane if the speed of traffic is 30 mph or less and the motorcycle is not driven at a speed of more than 50 mph and the motorcycle is driven no more than 10 to 15 mph faster than the speed of traffic. I sometimes have to sit on myself to keep from jumping to opinions and conclusions. My first reaction was not the realization that this is now a law; my first reaction was to the language. For example, who has to define a motorcycle as having two wheels? I suppose limiting a motorcycle to two wheels is a strategy to prevent trikes from attempting to split lanes. Whoa! Maybe I am not giving them enough credit. Maybe the objective is to keep those two wheels in contact with the ground. You would not think this would have to be a consideration, but this provision just had to be aimed at stopping that moron I saw splitting lanes and popping wheelies on a Harley. Good enough. I can back this goal. Then I get a little condescending by thinking, “Driven? Really? You don’t drive a motorcycle; you ride it.” OK, in the scheme of things I am getting a bit persnickety. But bear with me for one last thought. I admit that math is not my long suit, but for lane splitting to be legal, traffic can go no faster than 30 mph and the motorcycle cannot exceed traffic speed by more than 15 mph; doesn’t that mean a motorcycle cannot be “driven” at a speed of more than 45 miles per hour, not 50 miles per hour? I must be missing something… Why is it when trading tales of the road, close calls and weather stories become the topic to try to top? I suppose it is because the extremes are what is most vividly remembered. Jack and I got back yesterday from a more than 2,600-mile trip that made a wide circle up through Idaho and Wyoming. We took Interstate 80 through Reno, and as soon as we left the Reno area, the wind hit. We should have taken that first day as an omen of things to come. We got to Boise and the wind had blown forest fire smoke into the area. The smoke was so thick and far spread, we didn’t see the sky for two days and our eyes were totally bloodshot from the irritation. There is a little road (Highway 20) just southeast of Boise that is a delight to ride. Of course, the day we rode it, we got rained on, and, no, we had no place to pull over and put on rain gear. We got soaked. Did I mention this rain was cold and came at us with high, gusty side winds? We pulled into Idaho Falls completely exhausted. Our destination was Cody, Wyoming. To get there, the road took us through Yellowstone. Yellowstone is pretty, but not when you have to be somewhere else. The traffic was slow. The Rocky Mountains took us up about 9,000 feet. As it got later and higher, it got colder and colder. By the time we reached Cody, I was reaching hypothermia. I could not get warm. We left Cody and cut across Wyoming through Casper to reach Cheyenne. It was very cold and very windy, but the strongest wind was yet to come. From Cheyenne west to Evanston, the wind was so strong and gusty, I rarely got above 50 mph because I could not hold my bike on the road. It was at a rest stop along this route that we saw a sign warning that winds in this area can exceed 70 mph. And, yes, it was still very cold. We were still above 7,000 feet. This will go down in the books as, “the trip from Hell.” Can you imagine? There were days when I looked as though I had a bad sunburn. Nope. We had not seen the sun for all the smoke. I had a bad windburn. After all the years and all the miles that were full of great road trips, I suppose it conforms to the law of averages that I had to get my ticket punched at least once… Now I have to get packed and on the road for the IHR annual campout. My tent will be the one with the electric blanket wrapped up inside the sleeping bag.

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