Riding At Night
Night Riding. Not something I've intentionally set out to do in the past; just happened to do it when necessary. I'm finding I really like it.
Since it's cooled down here, I've been using my KLR for my 65-mile commute. (Polyester uniform/ATGATT/Heat Indices around 115: bad combo for riding to work) and find myself really enjoying the ride home at 11:00 p.m.
Most of my route consists of a remote, twisty, curvy 2-lane asphalt road with a 2-mile stretch of Interstate in the middle. I pass through only one small town on the way home and rarely see another vehicle.
Animals in the road and owls/bats in the air are my greatest threats, but since there are no other vehicles on the road, I can poke along sedately at 40-45, giving myself a good view down the road and shoulders with plenty of time to react.
Last night I saw 6 deer, 2 possums, a pack of about 5 raccoons, two dogs and a small "pack" of housecat kittens in the road or crossing it. The kittens were actually out gnawing on a dead possum in the road. I see owls almost every night and a bat now and then and foxes aren't uncommon but I have yet to spot a coyote or Sasquatch.
One night I saw a large fireball or meteorite flash overhead and in front of me just as I came into the one town I pass through. It was so bright its reflection actually lit up some of the vegetation around me.
It seems like everything is condensed at night. Since it's about all you can see, you just zone out on the road, the drone of the engine and the rhythmic whining of the front tire. It seems like everything smells better at night: passing hayfields, creeks, farmland, timber: they all have their own unique smell that's intensified by the humid night air.
Of course, the same thing goes for dead animals in and along the road and that ain't so pleasant.
I think I will go ahead and try to get some auxiliary or backup lights on the KLR now that I'm riding this road regularly at night. So far, I've found that the stock Lo and Hi beams are more than adequate, especially at the speeds I'm riding, but it seems like headlight fuse-blowing is a not-uncommon occurrence with the KLR and I'd like to have another source independent of the headlight circuit.
If you don't make a habit of riding at night, I would recommend you get out and give it a try if you have some suitable roads: I think it kind of refines riding down to its essence.