Somebody was rudely shaking my shoulder.
"Come on, are you going to sleep all day?"
I sort of thought I was going to sleep at least part of the morning, now that she mentions it. I tried faking a gentle snoring while not stirring at all. She was not to be denied. The proverbial mother of my children knows I'm a light sleeper.
"You promised to take me on a dam ride, today!"
Despite what some of you deviates out there may be thinking, there was no actual profanity being uttered. There was some vague discussion of a ride on Saturday but I certainly didn't remember any promises being involved. Katie loves water. We happen to live within an hour or so of a couple of actual major dams on the Santiam River. I forgot Detroit, that makes three. If a person is really into boats, fishing, and hunting, we live in the ideal place for it. We often end up stringing far flung back roads together with a stop at one dam or the other in the middle.
She looks pretty innocent in this picture. Let me tell you, she's up to something. I just haven't figured it out, yet. Come October I'll have been delightfully married to her for 30 years. I thought I knew her pretty well. Lately, though, she's been acting a little strange when it comes to motorcycling. Like this insistence on riding today. I'm ten hours removed from a 528 mile day on Friday. Katie's got an endorsement of her own. I taught her to ride in one of my classes combined with some personal training later. I know she has a basic level of competence. We sold her CX500 but I've offered many times to buy her what she wants to replace it. Katie knows where the keys are to the bikes around the house. This girl would rather ride pillion. That's ok with me. I like her being with me and she's a great passenger.
Somewhere over the winter Katie started developing a greater desire to go riding. Weather doesn't matter like it used to. Once upon a time she was a fair weather rider. The really bad stuff I ride in still puts her off. Clouds and some rain don't seem to deter her, though. Here's a picture of the clouds when we'd been riding for a little while. As you can see, it's not exactly a sunny day.
I know it seems weird that I was reluctant to ride but that's the way it was. All during breakfast Katie was rushing me along. Usually I can linger over coffee while she does her hair and stuff. Since we were shoving on helmets, no hair fixing went on. I tried to take my time but the fumes of impatience were overwhelming me. By the time I got geared up, Katie had put drinks and snacks in the saddlebag and was tapping her booted toe on the ground. Off we went. Sometimes you have to take a break from riding to work to take care of those you go to work for in the first place.
Those of you who've been reading this for a while know I'm usually doing the fast and furious thing. Katie, on the other hand, likes slow and scenic. This is especially true when we're riding along a river. Or, like on this ride, on the back side of Foster Reservoir. I figure when she's with me I can do slow and scenic. There's plenty of opportunity to do my own thing otherwise. Riding helps clarify one's thoughts at whatever speed the bike's doing. Here's a gem from that particular stretch.
Poets, philosophers, and creators of literature have been trying for years to describe love. They give example after example. I'm a hardcore motorcyclist. If it ain't got a reference to two wheels I just can't relate. Most of you out there probably won't admit it, but I suspect there's some of that going on with you, too. So here's an example of true love that I'm sure you can relate to.The road along the back side of the reservoir didn't have a lot of traffic. I kept the speed down to about 30 mph so Katie would have plenty of opportunity to sightsee. That's love, right? Putting the interest of the mate ahead of your own. Let me tell you about TRUE love. At one point an SUV was approaching from behind. We also happened to be on a great motorcycle road. No, not the scenery, the curves!! The natural thing to do would be to speed up so as not to impede traffic behind. For Katie's sake I resisted the urge. On a relatively straight stretch I pulled over and waved the SUV around us. "No man has greater love for a woman than he who will purposely let his powerful bike be passed by a freakin' Ford Explorer!!!!!" Along the way we stopped at the fish hatchery. Not much was going on but they have this big aquarium by the office.
There's supposed to be a sampling of the species that come up the river. Spring chinook salmon, cut-throat trout, rainbow trout, some sturgeons, and other stuff are represented by signs. Not all of them are in there at the moment but there were still some fine specimens.
I often wonder what must be going through their brains as people come up to have a closer look.
"Dudes, like come look at those neon humans out there!"
By now the sun was coming out a little more and I would have been content to spend a few more minutes looking around. Even through my 'Stich I could feel more of those impatient fumes coming at me. Turning around with camera in hand, I saw that Katie was already geared up and ready to be back on the bike.
Notice those crazy red gloves? Drives me nuts. I've offered to buy her black pants for the 'Stich. That's way too much Hi-Viz all at once for me. She likes all the color. Those red Tourmaster gloves look funny to me in contrast to the Hi-Viz. Katie doesn't care. She likes the gloves. Like I say, drives me nuts. Come to think of it, there's a lot of that kind of thing in a marriage. Here's another piece of philosophical wisdom in the context of motorcycling.
Marriages and relationships end because people look at things like this the wrong way. I could chose to dwell on the weird contrast between the red gloves and the Hi-Viz of the 'Stich. I could get to the point where I see it as a huge fault on her part. Why is she so stubborn? A person could do the same thing with snoring, belching, flatulence, or whatever. Little things that could be perceived as faults to the point they become divisive. Let me tell you, these aren't faults. They're the good stuff. If you ever find yourself unwillingly deprived of your partner these are the things you'll look back on fondly. These are the things you'll miss the most. Go with the flow. Smile and enjoy them while you can.
Back to what my angel's up to. I still don't know. Here's some more highlights of what's happened in the past few months. Katie's pushing me to buy a Givi trunk for Sophie. Weird, isn't it? The wife's bugging me to buy motorcycle accessories. We should all be so lucky. Enter a comment I overhead her make when we were in Medford. I distinctly remember Katie telling another instructor that we needed either more luggage or a bigger bike. Why? Her explanation was that we'd need it if we were going to be gone a couple of weeks at a time on the bike. She's also bringing up the time we borrowed a BMW K1200LT for a long weekend. According to her, that air pillow passenger seat with the armrests was soooo comfortable. Does she know something I don't? I haven't been talking about any long trips or retiring any time soon. What is she up to?
By now, it's around three thirty in the afternoon. I decide to test Katie. Her being so eager to be back on the bike and all. I tell her we could be in Bend by suppertime. The expectation is that she won't go for it. Bend is 120 miles East over the Cascade Mountains. We're at the beginning of where Highway 20 starts to wind up over the hills until it meets with Highway 22 that climbs over the Santiam Pass. Elevation at the pass is 4815 feet. Roads will be clear but the air will be cold. On the other side of the pass is Central Oregon which is high desert.
"Let's go", she says.
It's a good thing I've just pulled my helmet on. Kind of helps hide the strangling sound I make. We have no extra clothes, no toothbrush, and no overnight kind of stuff at all. Just snacks and bottles of water. My kind of riding and impetuosity. Not hers. At least not up until now. Who is this woman? I mean, I'm starting to be really intrigued but where did she come from?
Steve Williams in his blog "Scooter in the Sticks" wrote about how he couldn't seem to resist the bike and tree picture. Of course, his trees are always on top of hills. This is a flat stretch in the hills. Counts the same to me. Here's one from a rest stop we took. This picture is very symbolic. The freedom of a bike, the natural wonders like the tree, and the reality of life as represented by the brick of the toilet building on the right. Pretty cool for a Warrior, huh? Like that one? Then try this one!
It's an even bigger tree and I never had to move the bike!! Seriously, Steve is truly the master of photography. I am but the humble amateur who bows before the Master. It was worth having some fun with, though.
Speaking of fun, we had a great time in Central Oregon. I actually got to sleep in a little Sunday morning!! There were some cold moments coming home. It was late in the afternoon as we headed back over the pass. I kept trying to creep the speed up as we came down this side of the mountains. The lower the elevation the warmer the temperature. Another few hundred miles on the odometer. It's going to be time to buy tires again soon.
Some of this is written as fun. Behind it all is a seriousness. Katie's got the bug to go somewhere far away on the bike. She's talking about going to Arizona to see her brother. She's mentioned the East Coast. It will be interesting to see where this goes, if anywhere. Who knows, I may be blogging about having just purchased a luxo-tourer. ( groan, I'm not ready for that, yet! ) I'd be all over a really long trip but I do want her to be comfortable. Hey, the Iron Butt Rally is running this year. How about doing it two up, Katie?
Miles and smiles,