Day 19&20: Asheville Layover x2 – Irma

Eighteen days on two wheels and only one rainstorm dumped in me and another diverted my route slightly. That is a pretty good streak, me thinks. But as I closed in on the east coast, I knew one of these Atlantic hurricanes would make for a soggy day or two.

I kept an eye on Irma, but I made a conscious decision to not make any decisions until I had to give a shit about which way she was tracking. In mindfulness and meditation speak, you call it living in the moment. But seriously, what was I going to do on day 15 or 16 to avoid this other than turn around?

We parked our bikes on the back patio and woke to a constant drizzle of rain in Asheville. Irma brought not only rain, but a decisive drop in temperature. My husband and I both planned to ride on to our next destinations the next day- somewhere in Virginia for him and Durham, NC for me. That meant 4-8 hours in cold, rainy and windy conditions. We were lucky enough to be rained in at a city large enough for a big motorcycle shop. So, we donned our best rain gear and headed to the shop to get more geared up.

I had emergency rain gear, so gore-tex glove and a neck gaiter for me. He, on the other hand, boldly chose a grip warmer kit. We are both quite competent mechanics, but I would not attempt such an installation on the road. It was hard enough to install my windshield, power outlet, rack, saddlebag stays and other stuff when I was in California with adequate tools, but away from my own tools set. In fact, when the said power outlet crapped out after a rainstorm for what I assumed was a short or blown fuse, I opted to not take the headlight apart on the road even though I had done it before. That’s me, but he really, really wanted warm hands.

I will spare you the exact unfolding of events, but let’s just say it didn’t go smashingly. Seven hours for a 1 hour job, two trips to the hardware store, lots of cussing, two pots of coffee, a super-glued and stuck throttle, a lunch order, and finally a call back to the motorcycle shop hoping for a last minute appointment, but at least managing some last minute advice later and the grip warmers were installed.

He alluded to maybe riding with a sticky throttle. I mentally told myself decided that not happen no matter how long we stayed in Asheville to get it fixed. Seriously, never ride with a sticky throttle. That is bat shit crazy.

In the meantime, I absorbed the weather forecast – cold, heavy rain and strong winds. The longer I sat with it, the more I just didn’t like it. I had a destination and a date I wanted to get there. My nephew, 388 miles to the east, was scheduled to make his appearance in the world on September 14th, in three days. I wanted to be a day early. But I wanted to be there alive.

Two thoughts prevailed. One, the possibility I ruin the celebration of my nephew’s arrival with an accident by stupidly riding 250mile in adverse conditions. And, two, the fact this trip was supposed to be about enjoying the ride, not freezing my ass off and fighting wind and rain. Sorry, I unlike the Cheryl Strayed’s of the world, I don’t need to make an already risky adventure downright dangerous by putting myself in dangerous conditions I am not prepared for. That may make for a best selling book that Reese Witherspoon eagerly options for a movie, but I do like being among the living, thank you very much.

So, while the throttle got unstuck, I opted to add another day to my stay. My gracious AirBnB host agreed that it would end a bad idea to ride out the next day. So, Asheville was home for three nights.

Asheville is an outdoorsy city. So, when it rains for two consecutive days, most of the normal activities – hiking, biking, motorcycling and such – aren’t as appealing. Irma even closed down the Blue Ridge Parkway. What that leaves is beer. Asheville is a craft beer Mecca. There is at least one brewery and taproom on every block.

So, once the emergency situation was corrected and another night’s accommodation secured, it was time to drink beer. Honestly, I think with so much market saturation, the quality suffers. There were any great beers, but t was a great way to spend a rainy day. Besides, my husband really, really, really needed a beer or two after his stressful day.

Happy cooking and choosing wisely.

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