I reflect, the coldest that I have ever endured in my life was riding a bike. I was in the military at the time and I was stationed at fort Lewis Washington. I rode my motorbikedown to Portland Oregon to go to see my family. I had a exceptionally nice holiday.
The weather conditions was warm and dry when I started the journey down to Portland. It was very pleasant and warm every day of my leave except for for the date I was to go back to the base.
Wouldn’t you know, the last day of my leave the weather conditions turned cold and drizzling. Simply my good luck, I had to travel the 250-mile journey in return to Ft. Lewis in the frozen rain. To make matters worse the young woman that I was going out with at the time decided to ride up with me.
I put my motorcycle jacket and my motorcycle boots, rolled up my things and strapped them to the Honda. We jumped right on and off we cruised. When we started out the rain was just a drizzle. However, by the time we crossed the Columbia River into Washington it was heavy. I didn’t’ possess any rain gear; all I had was a army issue rain poncho. It certainly didn’t do a satisfactory job of keeping me waterless.
My girl friend wasn’t doing well at keeping dry either. I don’t’ think she was ready for a long bike ride in the rain. She should have had a buffalo hide motorcycle jacket, women’s motorcycle chaps and Motorcycle boots, but all she had on was a pair of denims, lite shoes and a short wintry weather undercoat, also not waterproof I might ad.
It wasn’t unpleasant enough that it was rainy and cold, by the time we got to Longview Wa. the temperature had fallen to freezing and the rain turned from just cold, wet, chilling to the bone rain, to freezing rain. Brrrrrrr!
The highway was un-safe to ride but I pressed on. By the time I had reached Chehalis Washington I had to discontinue. The cold plus the wind chill made it miserable.
I bring to mind pulling into a roadside café right out side of Chehalis, it was so frozen that even with gloves on, when I started to down shift the motorcycle I could not close my fingers to pull the clutch in. I had to coil the tips of my fingers around the clutch handle and pull it in by means of my whole arm. I did get the Honda stopped however.
Getting off the motorbike was different to say the least. Because of the freezing rain a sheet of ice had fashioned on the front of my legs. The ice started from the cuff of my pant leg to the top of my jeans pocket. When I got up the ice cracked and fell to the ground like someone hitting a plate glass window with a sledge hammer. I was so aching from the cold, trying to boost my leg up and on top of the seat made me think like I was 85 years old after hip replacement operation.
We made it inside the cafe and the warmth was both a relief and a curse. The heat felt pleasant and soothing to my cramped and hurting body. My hands on the other hand, pardon the pun, cried out in agony. I am positive you have all been there. When you were a youngster playing out side playing in the snow with out your gloves on. Recall going in the nice temperate house and your little fingers hurting from being so cold. Yeah you get the picture. It was anguish… It took me a whole half hour before I could lift my cup of coffee to take a sip.
After thawing for an hour I had to make a choice. My vacation was up and I was supposed to be back on base at 5:00am in the morning. With around a eighty five miles to go, should I go on to my apartment house in Lacy and be confident I would make my morning assembly, or should I find a room, stay dry and warm and trust the conditions improved.
Well as fate would have it, just as I was prepared to wimp out and find a room, the rain stopped. The unusual thing is, that very soon after we stopped in Chehalis the temperature went up a few degrees. So the icy rain turned to merely rain and the roads were not icy.
Now dry, the road not dangerous and the rain stopped, unenthusiastically we got back on the bike and cruised the rest of the way up to Lacy and the luxury of my apartment.
That was a long time ago and I have cruised many miles ever since then. Even to this day I can’t remember ever being so chilly.