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Safety on the motor vehicle roads while touring

Old 04-20-21, 07:03 AM
  #51  
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Pd, seems we have pretty different views on this, so I'll just say safe riding on your bicycle tours.
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Old 04-20-21, 07:08 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
The weirdest rumble strip fail I can remember was a beautiful 10' wide paved shoulder that was ruined with a rumble strip that was the full width of the shoulder of the shoulder. I don't have a picture handy, but it was somewhere near Yoder Kansas.
I also don't have a photo, but recall the same. Looked at my journal and found the following:

"July 5th - This morning I was up early, carefully packed my tent and set off. US 50 had these annoying rumble strips full length of the 8 ft shoulder but without too much fuss I was in outskirts of Newton at 15 miles."

I was heading west from Peabody, KS after taking part in 4th of July festivities and camping overnight - so my part of US 50 was slightly east of Yoder, but agree these were surprisingly obnoxious rumble strips, not extremely deep, but taking up the entire wide shoulder.
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Old 04-20-21, 07:21 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
This would have me taking the lane. Riding right down the middle of the lane. And while I listen to all the virtual gasps, here's why:
I think we'll just differ on this one.

These sorts of roads are not that uncommon. As an example, following is a photo I took in Baja of the main road headed south. I don't ride in extreme right, but also don't see a point of riding in middle of the lane. I am however, keeping track with my mirror (and listening) of traffic coming from behind as well as keeping track ahead.
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Old 04-20-21, 07:47 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Stae, middle rumble strips...I don't recall ever seeing them around here tbh. Would probably be both tricky to put in, requiring more precise measurements and costly fubars if done wrong, plus annoying for many situations.
There is some interesting info in this video about using them in Oklahoma. They claim some impressive numbers in reduced accidents and deaths. https://vimeo.com/226750369

A google search for "Centerline rumble strips" will show programs in may states.

A sometimes less aggressive version is raised profile lane markings. These can look like not much more than really thick paint. They accomplish the same thing while being a bit quieter and less aggressive.

Those reflective cat eyes can somewhat accomplish the same thing depending on their spacing.
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Old 04-20-21, 08:36 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
There is some interesting info in this video about using them in Oklahoma. They claim some impressive numbers in reduced accidents and deaths. https://vimeo.com/226750369

A google search for "Centerline rumble strips" will show programs in may states.

A sometimes less aggressive version is raised profile lane markings. These can look like not much more than really thick paint. They accomplish the same thing while being a bit quieter and less aggressive.

Those reflective cat eyes can somewhat accomplish the same thing depending on their spacing.
yes, I remember those in England and maybe in France. They are very effective at night, and I suspect its just not at all practical to have them in climates with snow, as plows would just rip them off regularly.
But yes, I do recall the little "bump" sound if you drift onto them.
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Old 04-20-21, 08:53 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
In this case I would make my decisions based on traffic volume, based on mirrors. In light/no traffic I would probably ride in the center of the lane to avoid potholes and move right to the shoulder line when a vehicle approached to pass. Using the mirror I can tell (usually) if that vehicle has seen me as they tend to veer out somewhat to give me room. If I don't see that happening I get ready to bail to the shoulder. That veer/yield is a good compromise on both parts. I also use my hand to indicate what I want the car to do - held out and sweeping forward lets the vehicle behind know I see them and want them to pass.

I would not hold the center of the lane without yielding simply for self preservation. If the vehicle does not see me (distracted driving) and I notice that at the last moment, it's pretty hard to bail out to the shoulder from the center in a controlled way. That is the part of taking the lane that is rarely discussed. The claim of right to ride has no real protective teeth for the cyclist other than a styrofoam helmet. The driver has 2000lbs of car, bumpers and airbags. I ride defensively and do not leave my safety blindly in the hands of every random driver based on priciple.

Also, taking the lane in light traffic and holding it could be more dangerous IMO than yielding it. Imagine if the two semis are coming up behind at 50-60 mph onto a bicycle in the center of the travel lane and then have to cross completely into the opposite lane to pass because the rider refuses to yield. Perhaps they will cross completely or perhaps they will pass close in a passive aggressive reaction to their perception of the riders obstinance. In either case, being closer to the shoulder and signalling intent is safer for the rider as they can again bail if they see the trucks attempting to pass too close.

I faced a similar road in Manitoba one morning that had me worrying for a few miles. This was the "Red coat Trail" out of Souris that I anticipated following for several hundred km's. Two lanes and only loose sloughy gravel for shoulders that was unrideable. In heavy two way traffic I would have to pull off and stop for traffic to pass, but fortunately traffic was light and a shoulder appeared at the Saskatchewan border.

I can't post a pic but here's a google link to that section of road in Manitoba. The gravel is loose and about 6 inches deep: https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.57693...7i13312!8i6656

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Old 04-20-21, 09:23 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
I think we'll just differ on this one.

These sorts of roads are not that uncommon. As an example, following is a photo I took in Baja of the main road headed south. I don't ride in extreme right, but also don't see a point of riding in middle of the lane. I am however, keeping track with my mirror (and listening) of traffic coming from behind as well as keeping track ahead.
I have ridden on a lot of roads like the above and how safe I felt was strictly a function of how busy the roads were. If that was busier than it looked, I might have been nervous. The width of the ditches to the sides of the road however suggests it is a main thoroughfare, so maybe it is busier than it looks?

The road below looks to be much busier to me, less safe, and one that I would avoid if I had a choice.

Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
...

I would not be surprised if Doug's photo (above) has broken the record for photo re-posts on this forum.

The photo below, I felt pretty safe there, there was very little traffic. And my tires were wide enough that the well packed gravel was a place I could go to if I saw something that look unsafe. There were lots of curves and ups and downs on the road so a lot of cars would pass me without being able to see as far ahead as they should have. And there were a few times on this trip that a car would start to pass me, I could see the on-coming car ahead where the passing car driver could not yet see the other car, so I would bailout onto the firm gravel to get out of the way.

Usually, I feel less safe on a road that I see yellow paint on, but the road below was an exception. Or maybe it is because there was so little paint left, I felt pretty good there.



I know I have posted the photo below a few times over the years as an example of a spot that I did not feel very safe, that road was narrow, even the brush on the side of the road (some with thorns) was growing into the traffic lane, curvy with lots of ups and downs, plus you were in and out of shade. Thus, the car coming up behind you might be really close when they see you, and if they suddenly came out of shade and have the sun in their eyes, they might not see you in time. And if you wanted to get out of the way, there was no place to do so.

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Old 04-20-21, 03:26 PM
  #58  
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coming from a motorcycle background also, I've always figured that its better to go with the "assume that they dont see you" attitude.
I've experienced all kinds of situations where oncoming cars went to turn left just as I approached them, the classic thing of them seemingly looking right at you too, and this on a motorcycle with a headlight on.
I ride in the city all the time and inattentive drivers are a real concern.

James Dean died driving at the speed limit but some old geezer pulled out right in front of him, not seeing the small silver coloured Porsche.
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Old 04-21-21, 07:22 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Pd, seems we have pretty different views on this, so I'll just say safe riding on your bicycle tours.

what he is writing works perfectly in Eastern Europe, if one stays on the right they EAT YOU ALIVE!
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Old 04-21-21, 12:55 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by str View Post
what he is writing works perfectly in Eastern Europe, if one stays on the right they EAT YOU ALIVE!
thats the thing, while I stand by my earlier comments for the situation in that photo, I realize that there are situations that one has to behave differently.
I have been in some situations where I had to be more aggressive with lane taking, but when there is a high speed differential, it can be tricky.

internet forum talk is tricky, we tend to have formed scenarios in our mind when responding, but I still basically rely on pretty much 40+ years of riding on two wheels motorcycle wise, and longer bike riding since I was a kid---to I go with my instincts and common sense about what to do for every specific situation.
I realize that its impossible to give a absolutely true black and white answer, as situations can be so different.
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Old 04-25-21, 05:54 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I realize that its impossible to give a absolutely true black and white answer, as situations can be so different.
Similarly our perceptions of identical situations will also be different. Some will find the car or truck passing at a meter away at a given speed in given conditions to be a big problem while others may find it to be just another passing vehicle and no big deal. As a result our tolerances for road conditions, driver behavior, and traffic varies widely as do our methods for handling it.

I know that I sometimes heard about the horror of certain sections of highway for days or even weeks before I got to them and was warned to avoid them, but when I rode them found them to be no big deal. Other types of roads did bother me and I wished there was a way to avoid them.

Maybe I am weird, but some of the ones other people complained about I actually enjoyed riding and some that bothered me I didn't hear others warn or complain much about.
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Old 04-25-21, 06:38 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Similarly our perceptions of identical situations will also be different. Some will find the car or truck passing at a meter away at a given speed in given conditions to be a big problem while others may find it to be just another passing vehicle and no big deal. As a result our tolerances for road conditions, driver behavior, and traffic varies widely as do our methods for handling it.

I know that I sometimes heard about the horror of certain sections of highway for days or even weeks before I got to them and was warned to avoid them, but when I rode them found them to be no big deal. Other types of roads did bother me and I wished there was a way to avoid them.

Maybe I am weird, but some of the ones other people complained about I actually enjoyed riding and some that bothered me I didn't hear others warn or complain much about.
so true, I feel that decades of riding in an urban setting helps in being more used to traffic situations, or at least helps develop being more comfortable with quickly assessing a dangerous situation and not getting ruffled by it if you are completely aware of the developing situation or at least the potential for a dangerous situation, and planning what to do many seconds in advance or planning an escape route.

an example: a good friend who bikes a bit, but I would call a casual biker, was riding with her partner on a tour, her in front. They were on a two lanes,and approached one of those odd French (France ) "narrowings with curbs that jut in from both sides. I've seen them before, I think it's to slow traffic down. You can see them ahead at bike speed for 1 minute, 2, but she didn't notice it. At the last minute she looked in her mirror and saw a rear approaching car pulling a trailer (wider a bit) so narrowing section, wide trailer, and she hadn't noticed these things until last second. She panicked, braked, partner hit her from behind and they went down, to the right side at least, but she still got hurt a bit.
Why didn't she well in advance see the narrowing, nor check her mirror to see if cars were coming? Pretty classic case of being zoned out, but still perplexing to me that she didn't have the instincts to easily avoid this situation.

As a car driver, I pretty much expect some bike riders to be completely oblivious to what's happening behind them, and one only has to ride on a bike path to see completely oblivious behavior by other cyclists.

And to what you said about how different riders perceive what is horrible etc, clearly how we see and calculate in advance potential dangers is a big factor, but also it can completely come down to how busy a section is that day.
Are the quarry or lumber truck drivers leaving on runs, are they rushing to lunch or their last job of their day.?
One section can be horrible at one time and fine the next.

For sure though, narrow and windy roads with bad line of sight are the worst. Throw in a close guardrail or close drop off that limits easy escape pulloffs-- these are the ones that need to set off the 4 alarm DEFCON bells in your head.
And/or numerous mom and pop pulling camp trailers or RVs where they clearly have little idea of their width--those situations are scary!!

heck, even just if we are hungry, tired, havent hydrated enough, didn't sleep well etc, will play a part in how we perceive danger, or not be on the ball enough.

lots of factors as you say.
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Old 04-25-21, 07:50 AM
  #63  
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I think we all judge risk based on past experience. And we all have very different experiences.

One way I try to reduce my risk is if I am doing a bike tour in a touristy area is to try to avoid peak season. I did Pacific Coast from late May to end of June. Did both of my Canadian Maritimes and Iceland trips in most of June into early July. The roads were noticably busier when I finished my trip than when I started. I finished these trips at about the time that the tourism season was just getting going.

Maritimes, I think I saw one other cyclist the day I started (we both stayed at the same hostel), and did not see another bicyclist for a week and a half. By end of trip, saw other cyclists daily.

Iceland, saw two other bicyclists on first day. But by the end of my trip, there must have been at least a dozen in the same campground as me, enough that two others borrowed my pedal wrench within an hour of each other.

I like roads that are almost deserted. And if that means I am riding when it is cooler and higher probability of rain, that is a tradeoff I am willing to take. And since I am retired, I do not have pesky things like jobs and bosses to interfere with my schedule.
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Old 04-25-21, 10:27 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
One way I try to reduce my risk is if I am doing a bike tour in a touristy area is to try to avoid peak season. I did Pacific Coast from late May to end of June.
Pacific Coast tourist season is once you hit Memorial Day until Labor Day with Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends being especially bad traffic wise, right? So, I'd think you'd have had a lot of traffic and busy campgrounds, facilities, and attractions.

I did a big chunk of the coast starting a bit before Labor day and it got really nice after Labor day. The traffic got much lighter, the campgrounds were emptier, and the weather was great. It was okay before, but much nicer after.
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Old 04-25-21, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Pacific Coast tourist season is once you hit Memorial Day until Labor Day with Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends being especially bad traffic wise, right? So, I'd think you'd have had a lot of traffic and busy campgrounds, facilities, and attractions.

I did a big chunk of the coast starting a bit before Labor day and it got really nice after Labor day. The traffic got much lighter, the campgrounds were emptier, and the weather was great. It was okay before, but much nicer after.
By late June it was starting to get busier, but the campground we were in usually had a lot of room, I think that the hiker biker sites we were in were usually no more than 25 percent full. Sometimes, we were the only people in the hiker biker site.

We really wanted to avoid the crowds you get after July 4 to Labor Day.
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Old 04-25-21, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
By late June it was starting to get busier, but the campground we were in usually had a lot of room, I think that the hiker biker sites we were in were usually no more than 25 percent full. Sometimes, we were the only people in the hiker biker site.

We really wanted to avoid the crowds you get after July 4 to Labor Day.
Ah, okay. I am surprised the crowds don't pick up to full summertime levels on Memorial day.
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Old 04-25-21, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
By late June it was starting to get busier, but the campground we were in usually had a lot of room, I think that the hiker biker sites we were in were usually no more than 25 percent full. Sometimes, we were the only people in the hiker biker site.

We really wanted to avoid the crowds you get after July 4 to Labor Day.
when I did it eons ago, it was in mid june or something, and my experience was very similar. I've often done trips just before traditional high season and whether in N America, or in France, its always been better before every Tom, Dick and Harry are on vacation.
I've mentioned this before, but that June west coast trip was the coolest June that I had ever experienced temperature wise, it's a lot hotter here in June.
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Old 04-26-21, 05:11 AM
  #68  
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We did not do the whole coast route, started in Astoria and finished in San Francisco. That worked best for the amount of time we wanted to take and for Amtrak to get us out there and back home. We started in late May, shortly before Memorial Day.

Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Ah, okay. I am surprised the crowds don't pick up to full summertime levels on Memorial day.
Maybe down in Florida the school year ends before Memorial Day, but up here in Wisconsin and where I grew up in Minnesota, schools are still running in early June. Without kids, I do not keep track of exactly when school is out, but pre-covid I saw the crowds of students walking to and from the nearby schools that I live near. Much of the population has to schedule vacations based on school year.

Pacific Coast, I had three favorites on my tablet that I checked for weather forecasts when we had wifi, one was the midpoint for our route, Crescent City. They are much drier in Jul and Aug, but we risked more rain to beat the crowds, both in campsites and on the roads.
https://weatherspark.com/y/323/Avera...tes-Year-Round


Originally Posted by djb View Post
when I did it eons ago, it was in mid june or something, and my experience was very similar. I've often done trips just before traditional high season and whether in N America, or in France, its always been better before every Tom, Dick and Harry are on vacation.
I've mentioned this before, but that June west coast trip was the coolest June that I had ever experienced temperature wise, it's a lot hotter here in June.
Yeah, Montreal looks warmer than Crescent City.
https://weatherspark.com/y/25077/Ave...ada-Year-Round

I do have a little trouble judging what temperatures are like in various places and how they compare, I am in the central part of the continent where temperatures are so much warmer now than when I was a kid in the 60s and early 70s from global warming. Thus, it is hard to compare to a moving target. I suspect you notice that in Montreal too, but I suspect you do not notice it so much in tropical Florida. In Minneapolis area where I grew up, the growing season between last spring freeze and first fall freeze is three weeks longer now than when I was in high school. Winters in Minneapolis area are on average one degree (F) warmer per decade since 1970. Yup, average temp in Minneapolis in winter is now 5 degrees warmer than when I went to high school.

My Maritimes trip, I never made reservations for campsites, sometimes at RV parks I was the only tenter there. But my last full weekend on that trip was one week after Canada Day, and I was in Five Islands Provincial Park (NS), they had over 70 campsites and only a small handful were vacant. (For USA people reading this, Canada Day is July 1.)

So, looks like early July is when things get busy in Eastern Canada. Thus, my timing was perfect to leave in early July.
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Old 04-26-21, 05:40 AM
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It's rather impressive how much detailed weather information you can find about an area isn't it?
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Old 04-26-21, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
It's rather impressive how much detailed weather information you can find about an area isn't it?
Yup, I do a lot of my planning for a trip based on that Weatherspark website for clothing planning, how much time I might choose to stay in one spot due to rain for distance planning, which sleeping bag I might want to bring, etc.

That site told me that for my Iceland trip, it would never get dark. I brought a bike light for tunnels, never used it. Brought a tiny little flashlight in case I might want to look for something in the tent at 2am, but only actually used the flashlight some times in the middle of the night in a hostel.

That site also told me that days would be short on my Florida trip in February, brought my best headlamp (for my head, not bike) on that trip.

That is one of the best sites I know of for generic trip planning across the globe.
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Old 04-26-21, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Yeah, Montreal looks warmer than Crescent City.
One thing that amazed me about the Pacific Coast when I was riding there was how short of a distance away from the coast there would be totally different weather. It would be nice and cool on the coast and just a few miles inland it might be hotter than the hinges of hell. At least that was how it was when I was there.
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Old 04-26-21, 09:42 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
One thing that amazed me about the Pacific Coast when I was riding there was how short of a distance away from the coast there would be totally different weather. It would be nice and cool on the coast and just a few miles inland it might be hotter than the hinges of hell. At least that was how it was when I was there.
Yup, we were forewarned that the short part of the route in Northern California that goes inland a ways can get very hot and that we should bring extra water. The person that warned us said he had run out of water in over 90 degree heat. He had been there a different time of year, but we did carry extra water to make sure we had enough. That stretch was warmer than the rest, but it was early to mid Jun for us so it was in the 70s, not the scorching 90s that he had.

I prefer cool weather, that is another reason that I would much rather tour in June instead of July or August.
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Old 04-26-21, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I prefer cool weather, that is another reason that I would much rather tour in June instead of July or August.
I much prefer cool weather too, but I seem to have a curse of always having record heat where ever I go even when I go at a time that it should be cooler. I seems to be a pattern on my tours and backpacking trips, early heat waves, late heat waves, ....
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Old 04-26-21, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
One thing that amazed me about the Pacific Coast when I was riding there was how short of a distance away from the coast there would be totally different weather. It would be nice and cool on the coast and just a few miles inland it might be hotter than the hinges of hell. At least that was how it was when I was there.
I lived on the Oregon Coast for 4 years. I worked inland in the woods all day in hot temperatures, and would come home in the evening thinking about enjoying the coolness of the ocean and a cold beer. However, my family would often want to take a picnic dinner and go up the nearby river to get out of "cold" and fog, and into the warm sunshine. At least the cold beer was good

It also rains all winter on the coast, and my work boots never did dry out except on weekends. I just learned to ride in the rain.

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Old 04-29-21, 11:36 PM
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I've only had that issue one time, but it was repeated over and over on that road by multiple people. One of them over-took 6 cars at once and I was close enough to see detail for a sketch artist if needed.
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