Thursday, March 30, 2006

Eagles and deer

I'm taking a couple extra days off work to let the past two week's tension drain. What does a hardcore rider like me do to fling off stress?

Katie and I took a ride. The weather was cloudy but it felt comfortable in shirt sleeves when I went out to get the newspaper. Remember the gravel road the old man in the pickup came out of? We decided to go see where it goes. Granted, the ST isn't really intended to be an off road bike but I've always felt more like it's not the tool, it's the man using it. I've had this bike in some pretty hairy spots before. I will have to tell you about some of those adventures in a future blog post.

What a contrast it is to just go for a ride instead of commuting to work. Don't get me wrong, riding is awesome no matter the destination. It's just that today we had no schedule. Serendipity is a word that has a lot of meaning to me. It refers to finding pleasant and valuable things even though you weren't looking for them directly. Our ride today was like that. We just set out on a leisurely run to see what turned up.

Backroads are so soothing. One of the roads that takes us to the really good stuff parallels the Interstate for a while. Looking to my right I see the freeway about a quarter of a mile away. Over there is where the chaos and frantic life runs. Over here there is peace and elbow room. I'm glad people are so easily caught up in the rush and choose the main arteries. That means they're not over here in my way. Katie and I are enjoying our own relaxed melody. Having a strong desire to go your own way instead of joining the herd can be tough. It means swimming upstream a lot of the time. The really good stuff don't come easy. That's what makes it so special.

We find the gravel road and turn onto it. Some is gravel but most of it is hard packed dirt. There are muddy spots and puddles. The road's fairly flat for a couple of miles. Then it turns right and starts up into some low hills. In for a penny, in for a pound. Like I say, the good stuff don't come easy. Up we go. I'm a little worried here and there but we do fine. One more short turn and we come out in an old gravel quarry with a pond. A pond on top of a hill. The quarry hasn't been used in a while. I hit the engine cut-off switch and we dismount.

Instantly we're surrounded by the voices of Nature. No human sounds except our breathing and whispered utterances. It just seems inappropriate to speak in a normal voice. The view extends a long way to the West and South. The East side goes further up hill into a heavy forest of Oak trees. We stand in awe and just soak it all in. The pond is full and some of it runs off down the hill in a small creek. You can hear the water laughing with joy as it runs down the hill.

We sat on rocks for about half an hour. At one point we saw a pair of Bald eagles fly away. They had been down in the long grass. I can only presume they had been there since our arrival. Had they not considered us a threat and so declined to interrupt their business? Had they hoped for entertainment and found these two humans boring? Maybe they just stayed to admire the bike.

Not long after that, a small group of deer worked their way down out of the trees. Three does and two fawns. The little ones were frisky. The older deer were on high alert but the fawns weren't shy at all. They were literally bounding. All four hooves would hit the ground at once. The hooves would stay down only long enough to build up energy for the big spring jumps. As soon as I slowly reached for the camera the does must have sent out some silent signal. In a flash of brown they were back in the trees.

We reluctantly mounted the bike and started back down the hill. Big black clouds were coming quickly. We headed South to get away but they caught us. Soaking wet, we stopped at a mall near where I work to seek shelter and dry off. Besides, it was getting close to lunch time. Understand, I'm a hardcore rider and not a slave to my belly. We only needed to eat because Katie was along. ( yeah, right )

There were hundreds of people in the mall. It's spring break and all. Lots of folks wandering with their kids. Out of all those people, we were the only two in wet motorcycle gear and holding helmets. That made me proud!

We ended up playing miniature golf. This new place came in where it's dark inside. The place has some low burning blacklights. The golf holes have flourescent paint so it's a glow-in-the dark golf course. Pretty neat, and fun, too. Have you ever seen a Hi-Viz Aerostich Roadcrafter jacket with a retroflective stripe under a blacklight? Darn interesting.

We took another route home. The bike's been put to bed happy, as are we. What better way to experience the wonders around us than from the seat of a bike? That's one of the wonders of motorcycling. What seems like a chore in a car is a welcome adventure on a bike. Who goes out and just wanders in a car unless they're disoriented? On a bike it's a natural and eagerly sought out thing. We're already planning where to go tomorrow!

Miles and smiles,

Dan

3 comments:

Steve Williams said...

Wait a minute. This wasn't a ride, this was a date. Romance always alters your perception of reality. For all we know this ride never even happened, it was a momentary hallucination while looking into Katie's eyes. I think you suggest an addition to the motorcycle training on how to manage romance risks when riding.

warm regard,

steve

irondad said...

Rule number 1 for managing romance risk while riding: Both hands always stay on the handlebars!

My best wishes for the recovery of your sweetie, Steve. Say "Hello" to Kim. We care out here.

Dan

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