1st of december, and went for a hundred mile or so ride around western Minnesota and into South Dakota a bit today. Took the Moto Guzzi Quota to enjoy the wind protection of it’s fairing, but needn’t have bothered- temps were in the 50s by 1 p.m. and stayed warm and sunny ’til dusk. Tomorrow and monday promise more of the same, only warmer. Daily highs forecast in the forties for a few days after that, then maybe the odd day of below freezing weather. But scant chance of rain, never mind snow. Heck, even if it gets cold and you resort to four wheeled transport, it’s just like summer driving ‘cept you might want to turn on the heat a bit.

We motorcyclists tend to be more aware of weather and climate, given that we’re so dependent on it. Used to be that up here on what was the frozen tundra of Minnesota and places of similar latitudes, the snowstorms started right after the elections and didn’t let up Easter and maybe May. What little riding we did was short frigid rides with all the insulated clothing to our name and a sidecar to keep us from sliding down the road on our butts at the first icy patch. So by today, the first of December, we’d be well into the “winter rebuild season”- bikes in pieces and parts ordered as we prepped our bikes for next summer’s rides.

Times and our climate have changed. The last few July BMW Motorcycle Owners of America national rallies have turned into exercises in tropical weather survival that would do our military proud. After low attendance and multiple ambulance runs for heat stroke, the club has tired of buying bottled water by the  semitrailer load and moved it’s next rally to near the Oregon coast in hopes of more temperate temps. And the annual snowbird escapes to Florida? Heck, was warm enough last winter that I could have ridden both ways even though I came home in early february ’cause it ’twas gettin’ too hot in the Everglades. This “global weirding” trend keeps up and folks will be looking for summer cabins in the arctic instead of winter quarters on the Gulf!

That’s just the motorcyclist’s view of this meteorological monster… The insurance business is goin’ nuts as billion dollar storms become a regular event. A years insurance on my trailer on the edge of the Everglades would cost almost as much as it’s worth, and the latest maps show the sea waters lapping on the floor of the new Lowes a couple miles closer to the Gulf by 2050 instead of 2100. I’m at 10 feet above sea level 10 miles inland, and with 80 odd years left to run on my land lease, the question is will there still be land there to lease before the lease runs out? On the “positive” side, the hurricanes may have shifted to the northeast and the infamous Everglades humidity was exceeded by Minnesota’s during the summer of 2011… ride through the abandoned Golden Gate Estates swampland real estate development and you’d swear you were in a palm studded desert instead of the Everglades. And up here in the northern plains, the farmers eaked out a slim harvest this year, but if we don’t get some precip next growing season is looking scary.

So our planetary playground is gettin’ warmer and weirder, and it was probably our doin’. And just like we shut the engine down when the oil pressure light comes on even if it might just be a dud sensor, we need to clean up our act. No, you don’t need to trade for a Volt for your hundred mile commute or bicycle twenty miles a day through blizzards, despite the elite environmental extremists strident warnings and downright disrespect of us gearheads. But if you’re lookin’ at acquiring a big ol’ pickup when you never haul anything bigger than your backpack, please pick something more efficient- your bank balance and the planet will be better off. And instead of plodding through urban traffic surrounded by texting wannabe multitaskers, take the bus or bicycle the trail and save your favorite machine for those nice trips in the country.

And those elite environmental extremists… Don’t let them get to you. Your a gearhead, you can fix things, even the climate… And they’re just helpless liberal arts majors!