Saturday, 1 November 2014

Wood Smoke

I have entitled today's post thusly because the beautiful perfume of wood smoke wafting through crisp cool fall air was one of the hi-lights of my fall day motorcycle ride. It wasn't the longest ride I've done, only about 230 kms, but it was my first ride in a week and as the days cool and shorten, these opportunities to wring the last miles from the riding season are something I look forward to.

It was overcast as I readied for the road around 10:00 AM. I've learned not to trust the online forecasts posted on such sites as the weather network or even Environment Canada, so I called a friend who will take a look at the radar to give me a better idea of what conditions I'm likely to run into.  The temp on the dash of my bike read 8 degrees Celsius . It is fall and heavy rain with cool temps like that makes for a less than enjoyable ride. Anyways, with the assurances I had a couple of hours before I'd run into drizzle and later heavier rain, I set off.

For the most part the radar report was right. I did get about an hour and close to 100 kms of cool dry weather before I started hitting light drizzle west of Whitbourne. For the most part, though the second half of the trip was characterised by light to moderate drizzle. I was heading west so I guess I met the leading edge of the weather that my friend Carl had seen on the radar and it just followed me back. I didn't mind it to much as any day to ride is better than not riding. With the exception of the most westerly edge before I turned around (when I hit actual rain) it was just drizzle with no major build up of water on the road... so, thus is Fall in Newfoundland.

I stuck to the TCH because I like to ride...ummm, quickly! The side roads may offer a bit more scenery but I've always been about the feel of the bike and the road. Still, I did appreciate the oranges, reds, yellows and golds of the maples, birch and other deciduous trees along the shoulder and down in the valleys as I made my way along the highway. The ponds were calm and the brooks and rivers were flowing pretty heavily after a week of rain. But for sure the smell of woodsmoke was a hi-light, as I said. As I passed places like Roaches Line, Makisons and Ocean Pond, people at their cabins for the weekend were putting another log on the fire,  either in wood stoves or back yards pits and I was the beneficiary. There is something very serene and tranquilising about a wood fire and the smell of wood smoke reminds me of that.

Anyways, I made it as far west as Bellvue Beach, about 115 kms or so west of St. John's before turning back toward the city. I did have a passing notion to go off the highway and take the "scenic"' route through Holyrood and the CBS access highway, but decided to stick to the main line. By the time I got back home my dash temp was reading seven and I was a bit damp, but still grateful for the chance to ride. I have to rememeber to pick up some of those heat pads that you can buy to stick in your boots. The ST has heated hand grips and seat which did make the conditions easier to deal with. Still, a nice heated vest to keep my core warn would be a nice addition to my collection of gear.

All in all, the weather was manageable, there was little wind, which always makes for a better ride and, oh yes, that wood smoke. A couple of hours and a couple hundred plus kms of rolling therapy, with nothing to think of but the next turn or the horizon at the edge of a straight-a-way; not a bad way to start Saturday after another draining week at work. Back home it's Saturday chores and looking forward to a nice evening with friends coming in for supper. It's Saturday night and the Leafs are playing Chicago. The past two games have been wins, but better yet, they have looked like they cared about playing, so I am hopeful for an entertaining Hockey Night in Canada...still don't care for the new team from Sportsnet who now dominate the commentary. The guys as CBC  are head & shoulders above them.

So, until I have a few more ramblings to share, I'll See Ya out There! Ride On...


  1. Hooray for getting out for a few hours.

    I love the smell of wood smoke in the air, but in Oregon we always have to be careful it isn't someone burning a slash pile of wood with poison oak vines/leaves in it. The smoke from burning it can actually cause an allergic reaction.

  2. At least you did get out for a ride, not too many yet this year.