Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Freezing Rain and Tapas

So, for those of you that live in areas that experience "winter" in its truest sense, last night's weather could have been more co-operative.  Due to scheduling issues and the fact that I didn't want the NX's old owner to wait any longer than necessary, I opted to pick the bike up yesterday evening (18 January 2011).  What was supposed to be "flurries in the morning followed by cloudy skies" turned into on and off snow/sleet/freezing rain throughout the day and into the evening hours.  I got home to find the driveway a sheet of icy, compacted snow.  I was able to get traction but just barely.  I own one of those folding trailers that you buy as a knocked-down kit and assemble yourself.  I don't use it that often but when I do, boy-howdy, it's nice to have.  When it's folded up, you can roll it around on casters.  So, I ran into the garage and moved it from its storage location (between my car and the wall) to my wife's vehicle's side of the garage (we used her little SUV to tow it).  When I went back out to drive my car into the garage, I found it slowly sliding, on the icy compacted snow, toward the street.  My driveway has just enough of a pitch to facilitate this action and my wife has complained about it earlier this winter (obviously, her comments fell on deaf ears....).  The sidewalk, at the end of the driveway, is flat which stopped my sliding car from going further.  It wasn't moving that fast in the first place but I certainly wasn't going to chase it into the street, either.  After getting the car in the garage, I took events to heart and salted the driveway (lest my wife arrive at home and chastise me once again; "You don't listen, do you?").  About thirty minutes later, I had the trailer set-up and ready to go.  Thanks to brand new smart phones, my wife was able to determine traffic information as well as several nice restaurants near our destination.  For those of you that have enjoyed these benefits for some time, indulge an old-timer, will ya?  Traffic turned out to be just like the phone indicated but the freezing rain, on the windshield, was a distraction.  55 mph was about as fast as I could go and have the defroster and windshield wipers keep up.  To be honest, I didn't care.  The trailer is small enough that it's really hard to see in the side view mirrors (but you can "feel" it through the seat of your pants - those who tow will understand) and taking it easy was OK as far as I was concerned.  The roads seemed to be in pretty good shape and I didn't ever encounter any icy pavement.  We arrived early, actually.

Tony was nice enough to come right out and help me load up after doing the paperwork and paying the balance due.  He commented on the "nice little trailer" (thanks) I had.  I brought along a ramp but, due to all of the ice and snow in the alleyway, it wasn't going to help much.  Fortunately, Tony had a piece of 3/4" plywood and we used that instead.  Luckily for me, Tony is a big dude, he's a brick layer by trade.  I'm pretty sure he could have picked up the bike and placed it on the trailer.  Needless to say, it was pretty easy to roll the NX up the plywood ramp and onto the trailer deck with him providing most of the impetus.  As I suspected, the deck was kind of slippery from the freezing rain.  Tony was kind enough to hold the bike while I strapped it down.  He was also kind enough to pick up the spare motor, like palming a basketball, and placed it in the back of my wife's SUV.  Just kidding about the "palming" part.  And, after a trip once around the block (Tony called to inform me we forgot to get the keys), we were on our way home.

The weather hadn't abated much but the precipitation had changed to mostly snow.  With a load on the trailer and the NX's headlight staring at me through the rear view mirror, we were able to keep pace with local traffic.  There is a local chain of restaurants that's notorious for their tapas.  Unfortunately for us, the location closest to us has closed.  So, we were delighted to discover that there was a location on the way home.  I was even lucky enough to be seated, in the restaurant, with a view of the parking lot.  I kept an eye on the NX for most of dinner (not that I expected anything bad to happen).  Fueled up with bacon wrapped dates and garlic potato salad (in addition to other goodies), the remaining trip home was a non-event.  The precipitation had stopped completely by the time we left.  As I off-loaded the bike, I was surprised by its light weight.  I'm used to pushing a 450 lb. TransAlp or 350 lb. Reflex around the garage/driveway.  The spare motor is pretty light, too; 65 lbs.  It took a little while to fold up the trailer thanks to trying to avoid all of the snow/slush/ice/road snot that had accumulated on it.  But, an hour later everything was packed up and put away.  And, I was beat and ready for bed.  I managed to thumb through the shop manual for a little while before my eye lids got really heavy.  So, I went to see the Sandman and dreamed of lightweight, dirt-capable, two-wheeled motor vehicles.......

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