thursday. 22nd day of december. i was supposed to prep everything in the night before but: i) i had an appointment with my gf, and; ii) it rained cats and dogs and the public lighting service got interrupted for several hours. i just fell asleep, woke up a few hours later, started to arrange things to the other living beings of this place (meine Katzen), ate something and only then started to prep luggage and other important things for my trip.
got down to mount the saddlebags, took a shower, put my “armor” – because a motorcycle rider looks more like knight than anything else -, and as i constantly do before any ride, slapped the air filter cover a few times and “hit the road, jack!” it is true that i left way too late (my short (?) trip began at 15h15), but better late than never, isn’t it?
the first 15 km cross the town in the south-north direction. the heat was extreme, and right after reaching the last 1/3 of this stretch the situation got even worse: lots of cars, filtering and lane splitting almost impossible for my bike. finally i managed to reach the highway i was supposed to take and then funny part of the trip had its place.
2h later and not much covered, i began to worry about the view ahead of me: have you ever seen the moment where there is no distinction between the horizon and the sky? that was the scenario: rain – it wasn’t a matter of if but when. i rode into it, confident that it’d be a passing and thin drizzle, but how wrong was i… 5 minutes passed and there was i at the roadside, putting the upper part of my rain kit. i also hoped that the water repellant i had sprayed two days earlier could do the job fine (given my drystar trousers failed miserably a week and half before, when coming back from a short ride and getting caught by the rain at nearly 10 k to go), but that countermeasure didn’t work either. after crossing the toll near a city called roseira i parked my bike and put the pvc trousers – aha! now i’m ready to go!
from the ground zero until the first stop (gas and food) the odometer showed 250 km, and i rode 75% of this distance under rain, which varied from a light drizzle to a storm – cars in front of me leaving that trail of water in form of spray (note: “better” – for a lack of an appropriate term – to be behind [and reasonably far from] a regular car than from a suv [aka Stupid User Vehicle] in situations like these). another interesting fact: i had the sensation, which can be extremely false, that rain while on a highway, doesn’t seem that perilous, as opposed to dangers it poses us in urban streets. this is something to be discussed.
after having a média (as per my understanding this is a simple coffee with milk – or café au lait, if you prefer :P, but in the canteen i was this was an espresso with milk, which is very odd) and two pães de queijo (literal translation: cheesebread) and flirting with some pastéis de belém (no idea how to say that in english), i payed the bill, dressed up again like an astronaut, but with a very useful addition! before eating my meal i asked the girl at the counter if she had those plastic gloves and if she could hand me a pair. the answer was affirmative and when i was about to put the leather gloves i put the plastic gloves first – and i asked myself why haven’t i had that idea before! o_O
some more kilometers on the highway and there was i crossing the border, entering the realms of the state i had left for good a few months ago. the sun was already gone and the doubt showed up: should i stay or should i go? in the sense that i should stop at the very first motel and have a night sleep or keep on riding. the point of no return was getting closer and a few meters before deciding i said inside the helmet: f*ck it! decided to go on. luckily the remaining 190 km were ridden in total absence of rain – actually the temperature was getting higher as i was getting closer to the capital, and in the penultimate toll of my commute i stopped and took off the rain kit – since a while back it was no longer needed.
riding in the night brings a whole new set of problems: i) oncoming headlights; ii) lack of visibility; iii) animals crossing (or in the middle of) the road and you failing to see them, to list a few. the key thing here is: a conservative approach – the place you’re heading to won’t go out flying around, then why trying to go so fast? pointless. besides, if under NTP the situation is already a snafu, needless to say that at night things can go miserably (more) wrong.
i managed to get the correct exit to an express route and before crossing the last toll – an urban one – i got a reminder that i was in the city – that infamous city. this was the only “near miss” – not even close to one, but for a lack of a better expression, i will stick to that. final kilometers and lots of cars – dudes! go home! it is more than 22h! -, and then the main entrance gets past. a few hundred meters and i see a familiar face and a smile that sounded like a “welcome back” greeting. :)
the ride back home (tuesday, 27th) wasn’t necessarily bureaucratic, i was just ok. after the first stop (at the same city as before, just across the highway) the heat piled up along the way, and every stop at a toll was a mix of chore and living hell: the stop-go-brake-stop-go-brake nature of the procession under a scorching sun until you pay and get past that situation is something i wouldn’t wish to anyone.
as i was reaching the mark of 230 km, the fuel reserve light got lit and that made me get a bit worried. i knew i had to ride for ~25 km more until home, but then the conversative approach took place and after entering the realms of the city i spotted a gas station and solved the issue. at that point it was a short ride of 14-15 km through the city (N-S direction). Alles war super, and i made it safe and sound. attributed to yogi berra is the saying: it ain’t over till it’s over. the journey of almost 900 km was declared ended successfully after i dismounted, but right before that i tapped on the air filter cover (i always talk to my motorcycle like that and say “good girl! we made it!” – ye callin’ me nuts? who isn’t? ha ha!), picked the parking lot credential and hung it on the mirror, removed the saddlebags and called it a ride. looking forward for the next!