Mabel on Ice. Not as fun as you would think.

T – We planned to be up and packed by sunrise today so we could make a good run north. We want to make the most of the short daylight hours down here with the sun not peeking through much before 10am.

And for the first time in a while we actually made it up and out the door on time! It’s been much too easy to lay in bed and wait for the outside world to warm up a little these days.

C – Venturing outside into the dark at 0830 is such a weird sensation for me. I always feel like its 0530, not 0830! We decided to pack up the bikes, then warm up whilst we ate breakfast, so we could start the day warm. As I opened the door to the carpark, the icy cold wind slapped me in the face. Ouch, it’s gonna be a cold morning. The girls were completely frosted over with ice and Rosie looked miserable. She then sounded miserable whilst we both spent the next 20 minutes trying to kick her over to get her to warm up. Like me, the cold is her favourite way to start the day!

Finally, we got smokey joe going and managed to fill up the carpark with her smelly, oily grey smoke. Quite a beautiful sight in the orange glow of the carpark lights…

T – As we rode out of the hotels parking lot we were greeted with wet roads and grey skies and a ton of frost. Except, it wasn’t wet roads at all. It was a thin veneer of bloody ice.

Now just recently Mabels rear brake has taken to locking on and not releasing itself. So the first time I went to brake it locked on and Mabel slid sideways down the road. Crap. We decided we would ride at 30kms/hr and take it nice and easy until we got out of town.

However the roads had a different idea and on the approach to the next set of lights Mabel and I were suddenly down hard onto the road and slid up to the lights in style. None of the drivers around us even blinked. They probably see this all the time.

C – Poor Todd – two days in a row. Rosie had a sideways skip as I started to slow, but thankfully I was going slow enough that I could put my feet down and slide to a stop next to a now sleeping Mabel.

T – Picking Mabel up was quite the challenge as I slid and skated around the road after her until eventually she slid into the kerb and I could lever her up. Now the other crash bar cover was shredded and I had a screaming pain on my right side. Sigh.

C – Of course, at this time, I got distracted from the GPS, concentrating on not falling over, and missed our turn. We ended up having to backtrack along the foreshore – what a delightful misturn! It was simply stunning, with the sun just beginning to show its first light over the ocean whilst white, wispy mist drifted upwards. It was really beautiful.

T – We made it out of town very, very slowly and I started to feel stupidly anxious about falling again. I have fallen off tons of times before and it’s never bothered me. But now I felt wobbly and rode with my feet down skimming along the road.

The ice stayed with us on the main highway for the next 60kms. It was so slippery. I gave up riding on the road with my heart in my mouth and instead rode on the gravel shoulder.

C – It was nice to see that the other traffic on the highway was taking it very easily as well. The cars and trucks were all moving at a much slower pace and you could see everyone was maneuvering slowly.

As we made our way up the highway, I was already cold. The pastures on either side of the highway were white with ice – it looked like snow until you got close. Within no time, my hands and feet were burning with cold and then shortly after, they were completely numb.

We stopped regularly to perform our traffic entertainment on the side of the road – this includes jumping jacks, running on the spot and generally dancing around like weirdos as we try to get feeling back in our hands and feet.

It starts as some very odd crippled people stiffly climb off of their motorbikes, barely able to straighten their knees or manage an upright position, given the lack of sensation in their feet. We must look like such a sight as we slowly come to life and then start jumping and dancing around!

I really struggled to mentally deal with the cold today. We ended up stopping every 45 minutes so I could try to warm up. By the time we neared stopping, I was shivering all over. It was the coldest I have been so far.

T – We slogged along the Ruta 3. The scenery was pretty flat and featureless and I really liked it. We don’t want anymore mountains for just now. By 230pm we had reached our planned stop for the night and decided to push on and knock out another 120kms for the day.

C – As the time neared 2pm, we had left the icy roadsides behind and the weather began to feel just a touch warmer.

We stopped at the gas station in Comandante Luis Piedrabuena and sat in their warm restaurant whilst we enjoyed a nice big hot chocolate.

Feeling much refreshed, we jumped back on the bikes, much warmer than before. In fact, I stayed much warmer for the rest of the ride and that last 120km was much, much easier.

T – By the time we pulled into the town of Puerto San Julian, 360kms from where we started, it was just getting dark and cold and we had ridden for near on 8 hours. Rosie had a horrid sound coming from her engine and it turned out her exhaust gasket has let go. That poor bike is falling apart. Im starting to struggle to keep up her maintenance as her engine is falling apart faster than I can fix it! Not far Rosie and then you can have a new motor!

C – Tomorrow, we keep heading north on Ruta 3. We will aim for around 350km again and hopefully be back in weather suitable for camping within a day or two!

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10 thoughts on “Mabel on Ice. Not as fun as you would think.

  1. Jax

    Urrgh… that black ice is so nasty

    • tncpowell

      So nasty, and so unforgiving!

      • Ed Thomas

        I’ve had my scoot down on black ice a couple of times … long slide, but no road rash. Almost as fun as going down in 10cm of snow. 😉

        • tncpowell

          Yikes! The snow would be a nice cushion though right?

          • Ed Thomas

            Yes, a soft landing, but the stuff does manage to pack itself into the strangest of places. Then it melts …

          • tncpowell

            Hahaha! Oh that sounds rather unpleasant!

  2. Karen Boehler

    That road looks line US 285 heading north out of Roswell. I certainly wouldn’t want to ride it in the snow and ice!

    • tncpowell

      It is similar to that road yes! But not as toasty warm!

  3. Karen Boehler

    You should try in when there’s a snow storm. I once has to leave the bike in Clines Corners and hitch a ride south. I’m not as crazy as you!

    • tncpowell

      bugger that for a joke! Sliding around in the clear light of day was bad enough!

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