The forecast was technically accurate, but not useful. A high in the sixties, partially sunny. For mid-November, this was going to be an ideal chance to get in a few hours of riding. I completed a few errands with the temps in the high 50s. A few hours later, the sky was slightly overcast and a slight breeze was picking up, but the temperature still read almost 60°. I rode off to the north and west towards the mountains, and noticed that the wind was picking up significantly and that the temperatures were dropping even with a relatively minor increase in elevation. within 20 minutes, the wind had changed to ferocious gusts, and the temperature had plummeted into the low 40s. I pulled over to insert the jacket liner and to grab the warm gloves that I had fortunately kept in the top case. I put the heated grips on low and then on medium, which is tedious with the 1190 as it requires going through the menus. A severe weather alert popped up on the phone and although only an hour into the ride, it was obvious that the plan three hours was not going to be a smart idea.
I reluctantly plotted a more direct course back home. There would be no photos and video from the scenic Lookout point that I had in mind today. By now the wind was actually moving the bike when the gusts hit. A very disconcerting feeling, and I was glad to be on the larger KTM. I headed onto the interstate ramp, and merged into the slow lane going east. The faster I traveled, the more the gyroscopic affect was impacted by the wind gusts. I took it down a notch. Tractor trailers were being blown over a foot or so into the other lane. I steered clear of all of the vehicles and positioned myself in the middle of the lane so that I would be able to withstand a little movement left or right. I was certainly not wearing the right gear for the windchill effect. My hands were recovering, but my knees were becoming frozen. The dual sport helmet let in way too much air at these temps, and I needed another layer beneath the 3 season jacket. It was a harrowing and uncomfortable 47 miles back home.
Lessons learned? Always carry gear to cope with variable weather. Ironically, that gear was in the luggage that I decided not to mount for this short warm ride. Secondly, check the weather at frequent points and don’t just rely on what you saw earlier that day. Are these obvious points, that I had heard and seen and heeded myself a million times? Yes. Did I need a reminder? Obviously yes.