I fought to keep my hands holding onto the bike as feeling and sensation left them with the sub-zero cold and wetness. Occasionally, I would reached up and, in a futile exercise, try to clear the accumulated water from my face shield.
Ahead, something, a sign – blue. Has to be an indicator of something I thought.
Finally, it was.
I pulled the bike into the hotel parking lot. What a sight I must have been to the hotel clerk as I stumbled to the counter, barely able to speak as shivers wracked my body forcing a loss of nearly all body functions.
The clerk was able to determine that I needed a room, needed one right now. Forcing my hands into the soaked pockets of my jeans, I pulled a wad of cash out and dropped it on the counter.
“We need a credit card sir,” the clerk said.
“I don’t have one,” I stammered, “Please, I just need a hot shower; I’ll be gone in the morning, I promise,” I pleaded.
Looking me up and down real quick, the clerk agreed. Using the walls for support, I stumbled down the hall and made my way into my room. This was hypothermia; I knew it and my semi-lucid brain was directing me to get into the shower.
I turned on the hot water, not too hot at first. I didn’t want to scald myself and fell into the bath tub. Mother nature had down her absolute best to beat me, but this day, I had walked away. Not with a victory perhaps, but still alive all the same.
The rest of the trip would be no better.