The open road kicked my butt today

I looked back at my post from last month which suggested that I’d be traveling back to Chicago no matter what.  Those were fun times…

Where to start?  Should I start with the numbness?  How about the ache?  Or perhaps the light sun burn?  Oh, I know!  Maybe I’ll start with Idaho wanting to kill me.  I’ll need to be good old chronological order, otherwise the it won’t make sense.  I refuse to use that lame plot device that some TV shows just fall all over themselves “10 hours earlier…”  Gag me with a cow pie fly.  That’s right, I could start there too.

If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the prior post, you should start there.

I started today a bit late.  I was planning on leaving at around 9:00AM, but gazing at our budgerigars never gets old.  After I forced myself away from them, I completed my packing.  I didn’t pull away from the house until nearly 11:00AM.


Day 1

Weather was great and I was making good time.  I’d been on I-84 out through Pendleton, OR, a couple years back and frankly there wasn’t anything new.  From Pendleton through Ontario, OR, it was all very new and absolutely lovely scenery.  There were some purple-ish wildflowers in bloom which added color to the landscape.

After crossing into Idaho, the ride took a sinister turn.  I was already in the saddle about six hours.  Anyone who’s ridden will know that’s not a small feat.  I had my sights set on Burley, ID, though so on I rode.  I’d been warned about the weather, and that there are signs which advertise “severe wind” along I-84 in Idaho.  “Can’t be more severe than the Columbia Gorge,” I thought to myself.  It is.  At one point while I was filling up my tank I was needing to lean into the wind to stay upright.  Somewhere after crossing the border I also developed a pain between my shoulder blades.  Probably from hanging onto the handlebar for dear life, lest I fly away in the wind.  A number of times my bike was pushed sideways by the wind, which is always “exciting,” but at 80MPH it is downright dangerous.  Add to that the grove pavement which is I hear is great for water runoff, but riding on this makes the motorcycle feel like it is fishtailing a bit.  Now combine the fishtailing feeling, leaning into the severe wind, and a dose of a cross gust from the other direction.  Seriously not cool Idaho.  I will never ride my motorcycle along that corridor again.

Upon pulling into Burley I rushed to the motel to see if they had a vacancy.  I wasn’t entirely sure that I would make it this far so I hadn’t made reservations.  I should have listened to that thought from days past and stopped sooner.  After getting to the room and taking off all of my gear I did a quick status check.  The space between my shoulder blades was screaming in pain.  My hands are numb like I’ve been using power tools all day.  The part of  my face not surrounded by my helmet is sunburnt.  I also have a red spot in my hairline where my helmet just doesn’t fit quite right.

So I’m at a decision point.  Do I push on to Chicago with a revised travel duration which only gives me 2-3 days to be with my family?  Or, do I head back home at a more leisurely pace and try this again, with Angie, when we have more time?  The latter feels a bit like giving up, but is it giving up if you’ve set an unrealistic goal?