T’was a dark stormy night

February 19, 2011

The sounds were muffled. Earplugs. My hands feel restricted with the big, thick winter gloves. It’s a black night, a rainy night. The winds are blowing, Sam said forty knots, I have no idea what that means. But the night is awesome. It is stormy, beautiful, dark and alive and I am heading back to San Dimas from San Diego on the BMW in this weather.

I want to do this. I just want to ride. Some think I am nuts, but then I think watching TV is nuts… Yes it is a bit intense, but oh so good. It suddenly reminds me of the main reproach my husband had for me : You’re too intense… oh well there is no one to tell me that anymore so I can do, be and have intense around me without causing waves.

Waves… the rain falls violently at unpredictable intervals in sheets, pounding everything. The face shield fogs up from the inside, despite the highly touted “fog free technology” claims about the said face shields… so far it’s never worked for me… I lift the visor for a few seconds at a time, the fog clears then the wind slaps it back down.

There is foggy drizzle created by the passage of cars, the cold rain water hitting hot undercarriage, hoods… They form packs and run around me, swirl, jump in front of my head lights, playing and toying, lit by the red tail lights in the night. Those lights look like the eyes of wild animals who escaped dark fairy tales. Monsters lurking. We forge on. I breathe.

it’s not cold. I remember riding in the Northwest with this amount of rain but it would be just a few degrees above freezing, dangerously cold. This is warm. But the wind whistles differently, there are no great spruce trees to stop it. It sings a mean little song, infiltrating in the crevices of the helmet. It runs between the mountains, watching us all the while playing nice, then down a hill, picking up momentum until it hits its stride, at full speed it runs at us, and grabs us, the bike and me pulling and shaking us hard.

The night is not easily giving it’s secrets. Sexy and untrustworthy all at once. Beowulf is the hero. He races through it all. The cracks in the road trying to derail us, the wandering drivers, the fog, mist and blasts of wind…

As I crest a serious hill, the rain bursts in another exclamation of pounding drops, cars lift curtains of spray that my headlights transform into a white wall, the car ahead of me slows to a crawl, my front tire shudders and leaves the pavement for a micro second. But Beowulf is steady. I am calm. I am alive. I love this. We ride on.

I leave the slow, scared drivers and find an open car-less expanse of freeway. The engine purrs. A short while later I look to my right and I see, two lanes over, a white semi truck and trailer. We are traveling at the same speed. Zooming in the night. He is huge, massive, weighty. I am small but steady and nimble. For about two miles we go side by side as if tied by some umbilical road cord. For a short moment we are one.

A hill.

He slows, I go on. Aurevoir white truck, farewell.

Around Lake Elsinore the winds get angry, I get pushed again but since there is no one next to me I let them win and push me out of my lane. The road is drying up and we pick up speed. I stay tucked behind the windshield against the gas tank to give less grip to the wind.

Approaching the 210. The rain starts again. Hard. Stormy. Angry. We don’t mind. We are almost there. We are good at this. The instruments glow. A lone motorcycle in a black stormy night on a California freeway.

God I needed the ride.


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