I reflect, the coldest that I have ever endured in my days was riding a motorbike. I was in the military at the time and I was stationed at fort Lewis Washington. I rode my motorbike over to Portland Oregon to drop in on my family. I had a exceptionally nice break.
The weather conditions was warm and dry when I started the journey over to Portland. It stayed very nice and warm every day of my leave with the exception of for the date I was to return to the base.
I should have known, the final day of my leave the conditions turned freezing and drizzling. Truly my luck, I had to ride the 250-mile journey in return to Ft. Lewis in the frozen rain. To make things worse the girl that I was going out with at the time decided to ride up along with me.
I put my motorcycle jacket and my motorcycle boots, rolled up my gear 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 torrential. I didn’t’ possess any rain gear; all I had was a armed forces supply rain poncho. It certainly didn’t do a decent job of keeping me waterless.
My girl friend wasn’t doing well at keeping dry either. I don’t’ think she was prepared for a long bike ride in the rain. She should have had a leather motorcycle jacket, women’s motorcycle chaps and Motorcycle boots, but all she had on was a pair of khakis, lite shoes and a short wintry weather fleece, also not water-resistant I might ad.
It wasn’t bad enough that it was raining and cold, by the time we got to Longview Wa. the temperature had fallen to freezing and the drizzle turned from just cold, wet, chilling to the bone rain, to freezing rain. Brrrrrrr!
The highway was not safe to ride but I pressed on. By the time I reached Chehalis Washington I had to stop. The cold plus the wind chill made it dismal.
I recall pulling into a roadside café just out side of Chehalis, it was so bitter that even with gloves on, when I started to down shift the Honda 750cc I could not lock my fingers to draw the clutch in. I had to curl the tips of my fingers around the clutch bar and jerk it in by means of my whole arm. I did get the Honda stopped though.
Getting off the motorcycle was different to say the least. Because of the freezing rain a layer 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 thigh. While I got up the ice cracked and dropped to the ground like somebody striking a plate glass windowpane with a hammer. I was so rigid from the cold, trying to lift my leg up and on top of the seat made me suffer like I was 90 years old after hip replacement operation.
We made it indoors and the warmth was both a relief and a bother. The warmness felt nice and soothing to my cramped and aching body. My hands on the other hand, pardon the pun, cried out in torture. I am sure you have all been there. When you were a youngster playing out side in the snow with out your gloves on. Think of going in the nice warm house and your little fingers aching from being so cold. Yeah you get the picture. It was agony… It took me a half hour before I could my cup of coffee to take a swallow.
After thawing for a while I had to make a decision . My time off was up and I was supposed to be back on duty at 5:00am in the morning. With around a eighty five miles to go, should I continue on to my apartment in Lacy and be certain I would make my morning assembly, or should I obtain a room, wait dry and warm and wish the weather improved.
Well as fortune would have it, just as I was ready to wimp out and get 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 freezing rain turned to merely rain and the roads were not icy.
I was dry, the road not dangerous and the rain stopped, unenthusiastically we got back on the motorcycle and road the rest of the way up to Lacy and the comfort of my residence.
That was history and I have ridden many miles since then. Even to this day I can’t recall ever being so frozen.
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