Three great things in life are a good landing, a good orgasm and a good bowel movement. The night carrier landing is one of the few opportunities in life where you get to experience all three at the same time. - An old Navy pilot joke
I believe I've experienced my night-carrier-landing moment today.
It started with dentistry: a few months ago, with much prodding from Le Wife, I finally got the ball rolling with having extensive reconstructive dental work. This, of course, involved with dealing with more than one dentists' office–one handling the yank-and-replace stuff, the other with the surgical stuff. In the first case, I had x-rays taken and made an appointment for initial work; a day before the appointment, the office called and requested postponing till two weeks later. However, I had something come up a few days before that date, and requested postponing, which they got rather put-out about. Long story short, I ended up working with someone else, a bit closer to home. X-rayes in hand, I showed up, was re-examined, and was instructed to make a date with an orthodontist, in this case 45 miles North in Staten Island. No problem, said I: as long as I don't have to deal with heavy sedation at a given session, I can hop on Melody and get myself there, otherwise Le Wife will drive me there.
The problems started with the X-rays: My original dentist took them, and supposedly was going to scan and digitize them. Turns out they had neither the means nor desire to do any of that. Didn't get that sorted out until my first trip to Staten Island, which was…interesting. My preferred route was to take Rt. 18 for 20 miles, switch to Rt. 9 for about 8-9 miles, hit the Garden State Parkway for a handful of miles (including the dreaded Driscoll Bridge), then some equally interesting miles along Rt 440 and the Korean War Veterans Parkway (which I've joked looks and feels like it hasn't been tended to since shortly after the Korean War ended). It's a bit challenging when the weather's good.
I had to get the X-rays to Staten Island, ahem, stat, and the first possible day to do that was today. Unfortunately, I needed to do this fairly early, as there was a big, juicy thunderstorm due to arrive late this afternoon, and I'd pretty much had it with riding in thunderstorms this year. Besides, Melody, which was due for its 9k once-over, was rather in need of at least a new rear tire (both if I could swing the cost, although the front admittedly looks decent), and high-speed rolling in rain wasn't near the top of my to-do list. I decided to throw the pouch with the zip-in rain liner to my mesh riding jacket into the pet carrier, grab helmet, mesh gloves and requisite X-rays and head off to SI with crossed fingers.
So much for luck: two-thirds of the way along Rt 18 the skies decided to open rather early; I ratcheted my speed down to around 50mph and keep lots of daylight between me and vehicles in front. Rain came and went, but I maintained safe speed and distance anyway, then rolled off onto Rt.9, which is generally slower with traffic lights. Then onto the Parkway, where the rain returned…seriously hard. The normally un-fun Driscoll Bridge was now downright treacherous, with cars and trucks spraying rooster-trails of water, bringing visibility down to yards…yet everyone was still driving a good 10-15mph over the posted limit.
Things got more interesting peeling off onto 440: this is the second-worst stretch of road on the route, and there were already two wrecks being tended to by emergency crews within a minute of hitting the onramp. Thankfully, rain had let up while crossing the Outerbridge, and soon after that I hit the Korean War Vets Parkway–clearly the most squalid excuse for a highway I've ridden*, either as passenger or pilot. Naturally, the rain returned to demonstrate just how dicey this stretch was, and melody's traction control was thankfully up to the task…seriously, this road is dangerous to drive on in the wet, never mind with two fewer wheels.
Made it to the office (in just under an hour, somehow…not bad for 45+ miles, I guess). Waited for 15 minutes while staff pored over details with the X-rays. Then, I get the news: the X-rays were utter crap, and can't be used for insurance evaluation. The Good News was that they would take new X-rays, gratis, if I could come in the following morning.
I confirm the appointment for tomorrow morning, thank them, retrieve my crappy X-rays, ask for a bunch of paper towels, briefly retire to one of their restrooms in a futile attempt to dry out my mesh gloves (fail), use the hot-air dryer for same (slightly-less fail), take elevator to the lobby where I leave my gear and walk to retrieve my jacket liner from Melody, zip said liner in, call Le Wife with all this new info, then, taking a deep breath, suit up again, hop on and hit the road home, just as the rain picks up again. (At this point, roughly 40% of my riding time this year has been in inclement weather, so far.)
The rain pretty much keeps up until I cross the Outerbridge back into Jersey, then gradually subsides as I hit Rt.9, then 35, then 34 South, then Holmdel Rd (highly recommended, BTW), then back to Rt.18/66/35 and home base.
And I get to do this all over again, tomorrow morning.
The takeaway from all this:
- A Vespa, particularly the GTS, can handle all sorts of crap thrown at it; That's partly what I bought it for., but today reinforced this point.
- New Jersey's roads, believe it or not, are improving. Took a sizable gas-tax hike (plus an ironclad ruling for the funds to be used only for road/bridge/rail improvements) for this to happen, but it is.
- Be a vigilant mirror-checker: I truly am, but somehow missed the dude in the grey Siverado behind who decided to overtake me the same time I decided to overtake the truck in front of me on Rt 18 heading home; luckily, 18 has wide shoulders, and the driver saw me. Still, kinda close.
And: dealer appointment for Melody's once-over is booked. Baby needs new shoes, among other stuff.
(*Yes, we'll always have the FDR Drive...)
Last edited by amateriat on Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:05 pm; edited 14 times in total