Thursday, June 15, 2006

Motorcycle dating.

I write a lot about commuting, riding, and teaching. Most of the accounts are describing solo adventures. Riding alone becomes the modus operandi due to necessity. Even though riding by myself constitutes the majority of my bike time, it doesn't mean that's my preference. Granted, there's things I can do while riding alone that I wouldn't do with a passenger. Making sure I use ALL the tread width on my tires comes to mind, among others. Sometimes I ride in weather that's bad enough to make me not want to be responsible for another life. All in all, though, when I look back on my most pleasureable rides Katie is snuggled behind me.

One is truly blessed if they have a partner with whom they can share their passion. While physical passion is always welcomed, and even encouraged, ( yee haw! ) I'm talking about my love of riding. We've been married for almost 29 years. Some people say that being with the same person for so long leads to boredom. I say it's what you make of it. Here's my Forrest Gump mode: Marriage is like a blog.

If the blog author puts up the same post every day it WILL get boring fast. I think that people who complain that their partner is boring after so long are putting out the same post everyday. They should turn the mirror around and look at themselves. It's always good to evaluate what they're bringing to the table to keep things fresh.

Katie and I have managed to keep things fresh. We cherish the familiarity and comfort of having been together for almost three decades. Yet it seems that each day brings something new and fresh. Not always something outstanding, but she fascinates me more each day. I guess I should get on with the motorcycling thing. This isn't, after all, a blog on marriage. Maybe I should start one.

Last Sunday we went for a ride. Katie's been wanting to go for a while. On Saturday I had some errands to do and called home when I was done.

"Do you want to go for coffee? If you want to jump on the back of the bike have your gear on when I get home. If you don't want to ride, no problem."

Well, the gear was on. Off we went for coffee. It was 5 PM when we got back on the bike. I was heading for home when I heard this voice from the back seat.

"Aren't you going to take me for a ride?"

So I HAD to take a loop that took another hour. Honest, it wasn't me. She insisted. You have to love a woman like that. That's how we ended up riding Sunday. The short ride didn't give her enough of a fix. Katie has an endorsement of her own. About three or four years ago she took my class. I've probably mentioned that in a previous post. Did well, too. She's free to take a bike and go but she prefers to ride with me. Katie's knowledge as a rider makes her an awesome passenger. I remember once I ground the pegs through a tight, sweeping curve. Instead of beating on my helmet I heard her say,

"That was so smooth the way you touched down and held it there!"

The weather for Sunday's ride was great. Not a lot of blazing sunshine but it was warm with no rain. Backroads ruled the day. I was sneezing my head off. Our area is surrounded by farmland primarily planted for grass seed. The grass was in full bloom. I could see the pollen and dust hanging over the fields like fog. Each year my allergies seem to be getting a little worse. I don't suffer like some people do, but it gets to me at times.

After a stop at a Trader Joe's we went to Alton Baker Park. Katie loves these pretzel balls filled with peanut butter. I try to indulge her off and on. The nearest TJ's is 50 miles away. Good excuse for a ride, huh? Alton Baker Park is a huge grassy area next to a river in Eugene. There's some duck ponds and stuff that attracts family. That's where this picture was taken. I just love that cheerful smile!

I took Katie on some other back roads on the way home. We saw some young buck deer off to the side of the road a ways ahead of us. We stopped and watched them for a while. My wife has this fascination with these creatures. Both were three point or better with antlers covered in velvet. Suddenly they bounded over the fence. One minute they were standing still, the next they were up in the air. Amazing how they bounce. We continued on until we got to Roberts Lane. If ever a road begged a rider to corner aggressively, this is it. It's not a fast road. Most corners are posted at 20 mph. It's a technical road that you can get an awesome flow on if done right. Oh yeah, there's also a lot of peg scraping possible on the ST!

Had to take it easy, though. Not because of Katie. She loves corners! No, it's just that you can see a long ways on this road right now. At the end of my line of sight was a Sheriff's Patrol car coming the other way. If I could see him he could certainly see us. It wasn't the day to battle the Man.

After calmly riding Roberts Lane we saw something that made me laugh. No, it wasn't my reflection in my mirror. We came up behind this new Mustang. An old woman was driving. About 30 mph on a road with a 55 mph limit. We had all kinds of theories. I thought she had just bought the car she always wanted but was driving within her limits. Katie said she borrowed the car from her son and he told her to be good with his car. Either way, we passed her and turned off onto some more twisties. When we finally got back to Highway 99 we caught up to her again. The woman had taken the more direct route as opposed to our long ride. Yes, she was still driving slowly but had gotten up to 35 mph by now. You always wonder. A powerful muscle car piloted by a frail driver. What a contrast!

Our ride was about 4 hours. Wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Ok, I'll admit it. The ride was more like a date. Even brave and fearless Road Warriors get lonely. Sometimes the best rides are with a passenger. Motorcycle dating rocks!

It's Friday night as I finish this. We've just completed another three hour ride to get here to Coos Bay on the Southern Oregon Coast. I'm teaching a mobile course this weekend and Katie's keeping me company. I'll let you know if anything interesting happens with the students. It usually does.

Miles and smiles,


Steve Williams said...

Good observation about marriage being like a blog. I'll have to remember that. It's so easy to fall into a rut and take things for granted.

Your descriptions of your motorcycle dating is great. Your tone changes and you sound like a lovesick boy. *grin*

Even road warriors have a soft gooey center...

Sounds like a fantastic weekend.


irondad said...

You got me! Katie calls me a "tough creme puff"!