Wow, here we are, already a quarter of the year gone by. Its been a long, cool if not cold winter here in Florida but things are looking up with blue skies and temps back into the 70′s and low 80′s…YES! I’ll be heading back to NY on the bike at the end of May. After a few days at Americade will be riding over to Maine and north along the coast. I have never been there so it should be fun….LOBSTER! Before heading back on home I will ride over to Syracuse to visit Paul for a bit and maybe catch up with some other relatives. Looking forward to it. If finances permit, a ride out west to Colorado at the end of the summer would be nice but that’s not definite yet. I am signed up for the Tour of Georgia Rally again this year. I did it in 2013…lots of fun, lots of good people. Everything else is looking good so far.
Actually I’m glad to see that 2013 has passed on by. It was pretty much a crappy year. I did not get to take the rides that I had planned at the beginning of the year and the few that I did were OK but nothing really worth writing about. I had some dental issues that were resolved after about 4 months and $8000. That pretty much used up my whole summer and shot down the rides I had on the books. Soooooo, 2014 from the start, is looking much better. I’m going to go back to Americade in June and then out west at the end of the summer or in early Fall. I want yo do some more rides this year with the Southern Riders Cruisers Club as well do the Grand Tour of Georgia..the one highlight of 2013.
Early Morning Hours, Sitting here feeling sort quiet, melancholy. A couple of fingers of 12 year old Glenfiddich single malt either is helping or just adds to the mood. The thing is It has been an expensive summer Thousands of dollars spent and very little tangible to show for it. $7300 of dental work, $2400 of car repairs, $800 plumbing bills. All in the past 3 months and all unexpected. A big chunk into savings and added debt. Needless to say the planned October bike ride out west has been put on hold till the finances recoup somewhat. I gotta try and snap out of this droopy mood before it turns into a depression. Best thing to do is start a written daily schedule again…..Time to write, workout, do chores around the house, go for a bike ride etc. Gotta start eating right again too. I checked my fasting blood glucose level this am and it was 128, not really bad but it should be a lot lower. The Explorer is still in the shop, seems to be taking forever to get parts to fix it up. almost 2 months now. I’ll give them a call on Friday, some good news would be nice.
I retired last year so I am and old geezer. Motorcycling is one of those things that I wish I had started when I was much younger. Other than few rides when I was in my 20′s , I really did not get serious about it until I was nearing 60. Yikes! At a time when a lot of folks are making their final rides, I was just finding out what a joy it is. Living in Florida. I have been able to ride all year round so have been trying to make up for lost time. I quickly found out that what I enjoy most is the long ride, the motorcycle tour and that is what this blog is about, my motorcycle rides. I’ve enjoyed them all, enjoyed writing about them and I hope that you enjoy them too.
The other night I was sitting on my bike under an overpass on the highway. Even though I was wearing good rain gear, the rain coming down buckets, made riding literally impossible, and unsafe. With spray from passing cars coming at me from all directions I felt as if I was inside a car wash. It was time to get off of the road. When I saw the overpass up ahead, I pulled off beside the highway and found a relatively dry spot out of the rain under the bridge. Sitting there, on the bike, rivulets of water dripping down inside of my rain jacket and inside the visor of my helmet, I probably looked as miserable as I felt. I asked myself the question that I have been asked by so many others, Why am I riding a motorcycle?
The following by David Karlotski really says it all:
When you let a motorcycle into your life you’re changed forever. The letters “MC” are stamped on your driver’s license right next to your sex and weight as if “motorcycle” was just another of your physical characteristics, or maybe a mental condition.
A motorcycle is not just a two-wheeled car; the difference between driving a car and climbing onto a motorcycle is the difference between watching TV and actually living your life. We spend all our time sealed in boxes’ and cars are just the rolling boxes that shuffle us from home-box to work-box to store-box and back, the whole time, entombed in stale air, temperature regulated, sound insulated, and smelling of carpets.
On a motorcycle I know I’m alive. When I ride, even the familiar seems strange and glorious. The air has weight and substance as I push through it and its touch is as intimate as water to a swimmer. I feel the cool wells of air that pool under trees and the warm spokes of sun that fall through them. I can see everything in a sweeping 360 degrees, up, down and around, wider than Pana-Vision and IMAX and unrestricted by ceiling or dashboard. Sometimes I even hear music. It’s like hearing phantom telephones in the shower or false doorbells when vacuuming; the pattern-loving brain, seeking signals in the noise, raises acoustic ghosts out of the wind’s roar. But on a motorcycle I hear whole songs: rock ‘n roll, dark orchestras, women’s voices, all hidden in the air and released by speed. At 30 miles per hour and up, smells become uncannily vivid. All the individual tree- smells and flower- smells and grass-smells flit by like chemical notes in a great plant symphony. Sometimes the smells evoke memories so strongly that it’s as though the past hangs invisible in the air around me, wanting only the most casual of rumbling time machines to unlock it. A ride on a summer afternoon can border on the rapturous. The sheer volume and variety of stimuli is like a bath for my nervous system, an electrical massage for my brain, a systems check for my soul. It tears smiles out of me: a minute ago I was dour, depressed, apathetic, numb, but now, on two wheels, big, ragged, windy smiles flap against the side of my face, billowing out of me like air from a decompressing plane.
Transportation is only a secondary function. A motorcycle is a joy machine. It’s a machine of wonders, a metal bird, a motorized prosthetic. It’s light and dark and shiny and dirty and warm and cold lapping over each other; it’s a conduit of grace, it’s a catalyst for bonding the gritty and the holy. It’s flying three feet off the ground.
Learning to ride is one of the best things I’ve done.
David Karlotsky/Season of the Bike