I think that part of my orientation with my new position at WMS is weather-related. The day that I arrived it was in the 20’s, and the day after was a “balmy” 50 degree day. Next day was snow, followed by a cold, windy day that showed the thermometer at 6° with a -20 wind chill. Next day was a good foot of snow, demonstrating how traffic can get insanely snarled up. It repeats until today, where it’s -5° and the wind is howling so much that I don’t really care what the wind chill factor is. My moustache froze 15 seconds after I left my front door.
I had a great drive from Los Angeles to Chicago last week. Took 3 1/2 days and I ended up at a friend’s house overnight, moving into my apartment in Roger’s Park the next day. Up until that point I was extremely disappointed that I didn’t ride my Ducati ST2 out. Sure, I would have had less stuff, but I would have taken only what I needed and just lived with a smaller footprint until I went back home for Christmas on the evening of the 23rd. I could pack a suitcase and bring more stuff out on the return trip, and I would have the bike when the streets were clear.
That was the plan. My wife, fortunately, told me I was an idiot, and she would have been completely correct. I didn’t figure in the fact that snow doesn’t melt that fast when the temperature doesn’t get above freezing. It just stays, gets kinda dirty and forms an nice funky crust that would completely prevent me from riding with any modicum of safety. I “think” I could still do it, but really, I decided that having a conversation with my new boss about me being laid up for a few weeks because I dropped my bike on top of myself would be completely preventable by drinking a hot steaming cup of common sense. So I ride in my cage, the ’99 Volvo V70 Turbo my wife calls the Viking Princess.
We bought that car new, and it just won’t fall apart. We’ve had this love-hate relationship with it because we would like to replace it with a newer car (or in my case, another bike), but it just keeps running. It’s showing it’s age a bit on the outside, but mechanically it seems to be completely unaware of the crappy weather. I installed a new set of Michelin mud and snow tires, and find that the fight for traction in the conditions presented is never lost. So, once again, my wife proves to be the smarter partner.
Motorcyclists I’ve Met
I have met a few people that ride, but mostly American Iron. Haven’t found the Guzzi/Ducati people yet, but I suspect they are all in their caves working on some modification or building another bike. I look forward to meeting up with local owners to discuss what to do to get through the winter, and hopefully shorten it. I’m sure that given the easy-going and social nature of Guzzi owners, they are still meeting up for coffee or beers somewhere, I just gotta find them.
Biding my Time
As we started to look for a house, my only input has been for a space to put my tools and compressor, with room for a bike(s). I’m going to need a “man-cave” to get through this. There’s a few things that I’ve been wanting to do to my Eldorado, and I’m beginning to see that a long cold winter will provide that opportunity. It looks like the riding season begins in earnest here around the first of April, with a few days possibly in March if the winter isn’t too long. I plan to cherish the time between winters and take full advantage, but Ii’m beginning to see the possibilities of winter:
- I’m thinking about building another bike, maybe a nice Tonti Guzzi or a Ducati Bevel Single. It would be totally cool to find a basket Parilla, as I believe that they are just beautiful. This is a “next year” project, as finding a house, relocating a family, orienting to a new job, and getting hooked up with schools, friends and other social activities will pretty much eat up what’s left of this winter.
- Build the Man-Cave from Hell. I’ve got tons of tools, a Compressor, benches, etc. Depending upon the place we buy, I think I could have a killer workshop in a few months. If I proceed forward with this, I’ll start surfing Craigslist for a Motorcycle Lift. My daughter loves to help me, so this can be a cool project.
- Sell off one of my bikes. Wife likes this idea. I doubt if I’ll ever sell the Eldo, but I might sell the Ducati just to make room for something else as I get settled. Maybe a Cagiva Gran Canyon or possibly a Stelvio?
Meanwhile, I’ve been riding the trains as much as possible. The trip out here of 2250 miles actually doubled my mileage for the year that I spent in cars. I managed 29,000 miles on my bikes, just short of my 30,000 mile goal. I’m happy with the result, but it would have been nice to click over that final “K”. I traded it for a great job in a great company filled with sincere and energetic people. I found a city to live in, that, after a week, is convincing me that it’s the most genuine place I’ve ever spent time in. I look forward to a long, two-wheeled ride up and down the length of Sheridan this Spring. I look forward to meeting fellow Guzzisti and Ducatisti soon.
Most of all, I look forward to getting my Wife, Daughter, Pug and Weimarainer out here, in a home so we can begin this next chapter in our lives.