Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Anniversary ride.

warning: Those who have adverse reactions to "touchy-feely" stuff should change the channel.
The following post is laid upon a roadbed of sentiment. Some riders may have traction issues.

This isn't about a ride to work. It's more about what we go to work for in the first place. It's easy to get caught up in work, riding to work, motorcycling, blogging, and whatever else we do for entertainment and diversion. Still, the core of it all is family and friends. I enjoy my secular work but if I was single I'd probably be doing something a whole lot different. As it is, the decisions I make about employment ( and other things ) are always influenced by the effect on loved ones. It's ok. I like taking care of my special folks. Men and women all over the world share the same feelings.

I ride to work. The work takes care of those I call mine. The riding takes care of me. Works out just fine, thank you.

Like I wrote earlier, this weekend was our 29th anniversary. I'm proud of that. That's a lot of history together. Somehow we manage to relish the familiarity while finding adventure within that framework. I'm a wildman that needs a little settling and Katie's a shy country girl who craves adventure but needs a trusted partner to help her find it. Together we do better than each of us alone.

Friday night and Saturday brought the traditional stuff you'd expect. Candlelight dinners and romance. I did it because I wanted to. You see, she doesn't "demand" it. Katie "inspires" me. Same result but more fun for me! By the way, guys, I discovered a perfume that was new to me and was a big hit. One of my students was wearing this great fragrance. See, I told you that all I need to know in life I can learn from motorcycles! It's called Cashmere Mist. It has this great smell that sort of reminds me of baby powder. Not Wal-Mart priced but not bad as far as good perfumes go. Keep this idea in mind just in case you might have some reason to deflect trouble in the future.

So far, there's been no two-wheeling involved. Until Sunday. We decided to just take a day to kick back. You know, a lot of real love and friendship happens in the day to day moments and small events. Sunday was a day chosen to celebrate those kinds of things. That's how we found ourselves looking for something fun and simple to do. It was Katie who brought up the possibility of going for a ride. She likes being on the bike. Everyone knows how I feel about it. After making sure that Katie was suggesting it for her sake as much as mine, we started getting ready to go.

This time of year the preparations include checking the weather. Sunday was kind of a funny day. One moment it would be sunny with no clouds. Wait a little bit and the clouds have taken over. Now there's no sun to be seen. Back and forth it went but it appeared that the clouds were winning. The internet got called into play. I checked the website for the National Weather Guessers. Hmm. High of 69 degrees (f). No possibility of rain even mentioned. You should never trust these folks.

There were several classes going on around the Valley. This made for a good starting pattern. We would stop by to offer greetings to the instructors. I like to do this when I can. Everyone can use a little encouragement and I truly enjoy the company of many of them. The rest of the ride would consist of finding interesting ways to connect the dots.

At the first stop I encountered Kyle. He's a college kid with a heart of gold. I noticed that his usual VFR wasn't there. Instead, there was a brand new Yamaha FJR 1300. After I made sure he actually got one with a real clutch, Kyle showed me that the key was in his pocket and was going to stay there. Jeez, I don't scrape pegs EVERY time I ride! What was he thinking? Just because he let me ride his VFR at the track doesn't mean I'd ride his FJR like that on the street!

So the day went. Later in the afternoon I felt something sting my face. I had the visor of the helmet up some for fresh air. The stinging sensations got closer together. It wasn't bugs, it was rain. Small, scattered drops turned into real rain. It had been a fair spell since the last rain. We were on a road that follows a river and is full of great curves. Traction started getting a little dicey. Time to throttle back and take it easy.

I turned around to ask Katie if she wanted to just head home. She told me she'd ridden in rain before and let's just go for it. By now it was late enough that there weren't any more classes to visit. Besides, that whole "braving the elements because I knew I could find sanctuary" thing was buzzing around in my skull. Thanks a lot, Steve, for making this gearhead think about philosophical things! On the other hand, what a great justification for heading to Starbucks!

Just so you know, I don't go to Starbucks because it's trendy. I started going to one that was a lone outpost before the burst of new stores. Many, many, many years ago. Now it's getting way too busy for a loner like me. Today we had to go because Katie likes their cinnamon scones. This particular store happens to be in a mall.

I always find amusement in the reaction of folks to us walking down a mall hallway in our riding gear and holding helmets in our hands. Most move out of the way without meeting my gaze. It would be interesting to do a whole blog post on how people perceive and react to different types of riders, wouldn't it?

We had our coffee and watched the world go by in a different way than we see on the bike. Soon it was time to saddle up and head for home. The roads were still wet but the actual rain had stopped. I know this great back road with more twisties. This road is good for wet days. The curves are mostly sweepers and not the tight kind. Even on sunny days a rider needs to keep the speeds down somewhat. A lot of the curves are blind. I know that when I'm running the road from North to South all the blind corners go to my right. That still doesn't help with knowing what surprises lie around the bend. Best to just take it easy and live to play another day.

At the end of the road is a small place that looks pieced together from everyone else's discards. There's a small trailer house with a fence built of everything imaginable. Indistinguishable things lurk in the tall grass. Two or three Emu's are usually scratching around one section of the yard. This day there were two chicks. I say chicks but they were the size of hens already. What do people do with Emu's? Do they eat them?

Once we were home it was time to order a pizza and snuggle in to watch Sunday Night Football. San Diego defeated the defending Super Bowl champs, the Steelers. Big Ben didn't play too badly for someone who did a face plant off a Hayabusa. I did notice that his full beard was gone, though. Did they have to shave his face to fix it? Katie likes football, too. How can you go wrong with a gal like that?

I felt kind of bad about the ride. You know, with the rain and all. I made a comment that I knew it wasn't very romantic to take her for a ride in the rain on our anniversary. Her reply was that any husband could do the "mushy" stuff. Not many could offer adventure and excitement on top of everything else. The funny thing is that I think she really meant it. Am I lucky or what?

Consider this post as a sort of reminder. We ride to be different from the masses. We ride for adventure, sport, conquest, and many other reasons. It's a great thing to be dashing and daring. It's an even better thing to love and be loved. Riding to work provides many great and fun adventures. Just remember who we keep going to work for and let it guide you.

Miles and smiles,


chewy said...


You are blessed. My lady and I have 40 years this past May, and although she doesn't ride with me, I know she cares.

The Snark said...

We both forgot our wedding anniversary last Monday. That has to be some sort of record. Thank god for designer chocolates.

irondad said...

congratulations back at you for the 40 years!

BOTH of you forgot? What are designer chocolates like over there?

Krysta in Milwaukee said...

Congrat's on the long relationships, both of you!

I'm still working on convincing my guy that we need to start somewhere. ::sigh:: But as a friend put it last night, he's definitely a keeper.

On OCT 3rd I crashed (riding by myself, in what was probably a very interesting-to-watch lowside-highside*) his 1995 BMW R100RT classic. She's one of only 304 sold in the US. After, I was laying very still, but dialed Karl's number, handed my cell to one of the guys who stopped, and asked him to tell Karl 1) I'm OK (well, mostly), 2) Olsa (the bike) is not, 3) come make arrangements for her.

He told me later that he'd heard me in the background saying, "tell him I'm OK!" and knew by that that I wasn't. He knows me too well.

Anyway, he arrived just before the ambulance and asked what happened.

"I'm sorry! I killed Olsa!"

No, I'm not worried about the bike. I mean, what heppened to you? Where are you hurt? And he meant it.

* It's a bit of a story, but I really was doing things right... until I ran out of pavement. Pretty scenery, 2-lane country road with some curves and hills, been on it before, just out for a pretty ride and I honestly wasn't going fast. In fact, if I'd gone on around the curve, we'd be fine.

Felt a sudden rear bobble / hop when starting around a curve, came up straight and got on the brakes (in that order), but had more momentum than pavement or stopping power. When I left the pavement and noticed trees ahead, I started hoping I wasn't going to hit them, then things went topsy-turvy.

We both landed on our left, where I let go, then her tires caught on something and she flipped over on her right. Broke both upper fairings (the lowers were off for summer), both saddlebags, the trunk, the right mirror, and (sort of) the windshield. The only non-cosmetic thing was the rack for the trunk, which managed to also bend the seat mount a little. She runs fine.

Me? Badly bruised left hip, broken left collarbone, and a concussion (yes, through the helmet) - which the ER managed to overlook, even though I told the EMT's about it and asked where my helmet was scraped.

And I had to argue w/ the EMT's about how they were NOT to remove my helmet. I'm conscious & having no airway problems. Let the hospital assume liability for maybe paralyzing me!

Anyway - all that to say that when you find someone who's a keeper, keep them. Your 'sentimental mush' isn't... go right on posting it.

"What do people do with Emu's? Do they eat them?"

Yes. Emu burgers, emu oil, emu feathers, emu-skin bags (I think it's too light for boots)...


irondad said...

First of all, thanks for the congrats. Second of all, OUCH!!!

Sorry for your pain; glad it wasn't far worse. It IS a rare guy who will check on the girl first and not the bike!

Seriously, hope both you and Olsa are soon back in good working order. Keep us posted if it gets narrowed down more what happened. It's always hard to know from this far away. Sounds like a slightly slippery tar snake. ( crack sealant) or something similar.

That little sideways slip can mess with a rider's brain sometimes. Didn't sound like the rear tire ended up flat. Was it?

Anyway, take care of yourself. Don't be afraid to mount up again when you can.