As we rolled out of Adelanto, CA on Highway 395, I noticed the sign that read, "High Winds Ahead - Next 35 miles". Heading from Menifee, CA to Bakersfield, CA we had only traveled about 55 miles of our 200 mile trip. The next 60 miles or so was desert; mostly open land, with a few hills and valleys. My daughter Olivia and her fiance David live in Bakersfield, so I've made the trip a number of times by car, so I figured I knew what to expect.
The wind was cold, not bitterly so, even though temps were in the mid 50's. With my new leather vest from eBiker Leather and new full face helmet under my lined riding jacket, I felt sure I would be warm enough. I've learned that having a snugly fitted leather vest underneath keeps my entire body warmer than something long-sleeved and bulky. Living in So Cal my entire life has me rather spoiled, so cold weather is not my friend.
This was my first time riding in really high winds though. Each ride I take, I find that I'm met with some new challenge. This ride was no exception. My Kawi Ninja 500 Katie Scarlet is only 380 lbs and I wasn't carrying any gear this trip, so the two of us are just over 500 lbs. But in the gusty wind I felt like I was being tossed like a damn plastic bag. Most of that 35 miles, and then the next 40 miles (no warning about that section!) my Katie listed to the left, taking all of my strength to keep her exactly where I wanted her in the lane. Each time an oncoming semi would barrel past us on this deadly 2-lane highway, their wash would push me down, over to the right, and slap me back to the left again.
Hunkering down, making myself as flat as I could, laying my back feet on the back pegs, I hugged Katie with my knees to avoid excess wind resistance. The smaller I made myself, the less I was tossed about. It wasn't long before the initial fear I felt rose to excitement.
"Bring it Mother Fuckers! Bring it! I got this shit! Fuck you!" I screamed madly at the oncoming semi's, of course knowing they couldn't hear me.
The hard gusts slapped us sideways as I muscled my little girl to keep her on the road.
"You got this Baby Girl! Go get 'em Katie Scarlet! You're doing great. Fuck those semi's!"
Katie responded with confidence, teaching me that I could rely on her. I felt in tune with her, closer than ever, lying flat on the tank, peering over the windshield, hugging her with my all my strength. She could feel my heartbeat and I could feel her vibration beneath me. Each bump in the road, each tiny pit or pothole, jarred my tummy against her tank.
"FUCK YOU MOTHER FUCKERS!! SUCK MY DICK!! BAHAHAHAHA!!"
I could feel Katie wag her tail, like the silly puppy she is, joyful that she was able to please me.
We rolled into Kramer Junction for lunch and I was glad for the respite. After a bacon burger, large fries and a huge glass of ice cold water later, I felt renewed. As I put on my jacket to mount up as my husband Highway paid the bill, the waitress came to me.
"It must be hard to ride a motorcycle out there today, huh?"
"Well, it's challenging," I replied.
"Those winds are over 60 mph today! How do you keep from being blown off the road?"
"Sheer determination and just a dash of filthy sass . . ."
Photo Credit: P.S. Wagstaff, Author of Beneath The Door