Chaos at REI, heated riding gear, and the Mistress comes back to her castle

Yesterday, being Saturday and all, started out like any winter weekend…cold, balmy, and sort of depressing.  I had gotten up early to attend REI’s semi-annual garage sale and braved the low temperatures with the many other “deal finders” that stood in line outside the giant outdoors retailer.  Why is that the average consumer visiting this store still looks like they are in high school?  Another sign that I am getting older I guess.  The average age had to be around 21; with those representing at least three decades of life or more being in the very slim percentage.

Anyways, the doors opened after we all heard one of the store’s customer service attendants give us all the speech about the proper way one should conduct their selves in a 90% off free-for-all.  Of course, as to be expected with so overly caffeinated younger crowd, the scene fell into sheer chaos.  People running all over, trying to find tables of freshly returned merchandise.  Buyers of consumables stuffing their carts without looking at merchandise, only to wheel them to corners of the store where they could evaluate their grabs before deciding what to return back to the tables.

Quickly identifying that nothing that had been previously returned interested me, I made my way to the regular clearance tents which were at least 30% off.  Nobody else crowded my space, and I easily found a tent that I had been researching for weeks previously…the REI Quarter Dome T2 Plus.  Very highly rated, it’s 3 pounds less than my current Eureka Apex 3XT and more importantly, compacts from 10×24 of the old tent to about 7×17, saving much space.  And, maybe even more importantly…instead of being bright orange that could be spotted from space, it’s a more subtle green and gray…so maybe the bears won’t find me as easily.  Into the cart it went.  Now I’ll just have to keep watching REI and eBay for the associated footprint, since those are on clearance too and hard to find.  Worse comes to worse, I’ll buy a tarp and cut it to size to work.

Got back home, infused myself with a few cups of hot coffee, and proceeded over to Mitch’s garage to finish doing some work on the Mistress.  Didn’t take a camera with me yesterday, so no pictures today.  The fairing went back on so the motorcycle actually looked like a ride-able piece of machinery again.  The following two hours was spent doing a complete fluids change…oil, transmission, primary.  It takes time, since you want the fluids to drain as much as possible before adding new fluids.  While the bike dripped out the old stuff, I proceeded to do some electrical work.  Mitch loves to weld and work with steel, so he alternated checking in with me and offering a hand where needed, and crafting up a new creation he’s been working on.

For years, I have put off buying heated riding gear for the motorcycle.  I enjoy riding all year round, as long as there is no snow or ice on the asphalt.  Cold temps never bothered me in years past, as I would simply layer up and proceed out into the cold dressed like the Michelin made with an outer layer of leather on.  This year, I reached my “wall” regarding cold weather riding.  The ride Mitch, LJ, and myself had done several weeks ago (pic on this blog) was done in the twenties…and all of us were frozen when we got back.  Especially our hands.  At that point, I decided to wimp out and just get the comfort items I needed to get.  So, I bought heated gear.

Probably the best heated gear on the market right now is made from a little known, but very quickly growing company, called Warm&Safe.  They actually made gear for a more well-known company called Firstgear.  The quality of their products (Warm&Safe) actually has surpassed that of a more famous heated gear company, Gerbings (at least in my own opinion).  The ride to bring the Mistress home was about fifty minutes in length, in 40-something degree weather.  A perfect opportunity to try out the new gear.  And it worked.  Very well.

So, I am now a convert to the usage of heated gear.  It works so well, there’s no reason to wear anything but a base layer of clothes, the liner, and my main riding leather jacket.  And the hands were very toasty.  So if you are on the fence over getting some heated gear, get it.  Should have done this years ago.

The Mistress is now in her own garage, where she should be.  Today’s order of business is a garage cleaning, as it has become a catch-all over the last several months.  Once things are back in order, I will take off the front fairing and start doing some in-depth electrical work on the Ultra.  A good way to blow a cold Sunday…at least until football comes on this afternoon.

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