Today’s ride was a simple dash from Asheville, North Carolina, to Nags Head, also North Carolina – a 705-km leg that took over 8 hours.
A nice/boring highway ride, subjected to a 70 mph speed limit that I liberally translated into 120 km/h – the average left lane speed. A small Pentecostal bus powered by at well over 130 km/h, right in front of the only local Smokie I spotted all day, and did not move an inch. Ah yes, I am now deep into the Bible Belt!
It was 38 °C when I left Asheville. The farther I travelled, the higher my motorcycle’s air temperature gauge climbed, passing 40 °C by early afternoon near Raleigh! Forty-degree weather on a motorcycle is definitely over the top, and I had to do something to cool myself down. It’s relatively easy to cool down on a bike - you simply wet your t-shirt and hair before donning helmet and jacket, and the evaporation of that water cools you down. The dryer the weather, the better this technique works. The humidity is literally sucked off you by evaporation, which produces the same effect as stepping out of the shower on a very warm day – you feel great for a few minutes as you dry off. You can even control your cooling rate by opening or closing vents on your jacket.
So I was getting ready to kick my personal AC system into gear at the next rest stop when it suddenly started to rain, enough to soak the inside of my visor. My pant legs absorbed a little humidity, just enough for the direct heat behind the fairing to cook my legs like common Hot Dog wieners. Hot, you say? Still heading east, I was treated to a second, more enthusiastic storm.
I think it was the combination of storms and the nearby sea that brought the temperature back down to the low 30’s at dusk on the Atlantic coast. I’ve arrived at Nags Head, right next to Kitty Hawk where the Wright brothers flew their first airplaine. I’m writing this from by hotel room balcony, contemplating the ocean and listening to the waves crashing on the shore on this moonless night, lit only by the lighting of a storm off to the south-west. Life is good!