Sometimes everything just comes together to make a great day. Yesterday was one of those for me. I was asked to make a run to Gresham to look at a shipment that had come into a distributor. It was supposed to receive a little fabrication work then be sent to a job. Their shop guys claimed it was way out of tolerance. My job was to be the "official" viewpoint and report back to the factory in Tennessee. The fact that the sun came out and the distributor is a little over 80 miles away from my house added a bonus. I mounted up Sophie and off we went. Gresham is on the Columbia River Gorge, by the way. Please don't throw me in that briar patch!
It was freezing when we left. No big deal. I chose to add a lightweight fleece jacket under the 'Stich. I knew I'd be chilled for a while. The upside is that the sun would eventually warm things up. Fleece means no wiring up. When the mercury hit 61 degrees later in the day I knew I'd made the right choice.
Since this was a last minute change in schedule, I had to postpone other things on the list. That left some free time to just sort of wander around. I came across this little oasis in the middle of sprawling urbanite clutter. There must be some sort of preprogrammed thing in humans that makes us need to commune with Nature. Even if it's a man-made pond in the middle of an asphalt jungle.
That's part of what drives us to ride, isn't it? We feel more in touch with our surroundings. I could wax philosophical. I could use hundreds of words to describe it. Or, I could just quote something Katie says that sums it up nicely.
"I need to walk on something besides cement once in a while!"
This pond covers the equivalent of several blocks. On one side is a grassy slope that leads up to a busy street. Across that street is a huge shopping center. On the other side of the pond, patients in a dental office can gaze at the water and the fountains. Does it help quiet their fears? Probably not! Farther down is a Ruby Tuesday's restaurant. It would be nice to eat outside and look at the water.
Of course, there's the obligatory ducks and geese. One must really watch where they walk. No reclining on the grass would be possible due to the abundance of "you know what".
It was nice to have time to just sort of poke along but eventually I needed to go take care of business. My appointment was later in the day which meant the ride home was in the late afternoon sun. Nearing home, I was headed East. That late afternoon sun can be pretty obnoxious. It was blinding me in my sideview mirror. I found myself signalling a left turn. Without even thinking about it, I extended my left arm to go with the turn signal. I realized it's a habit I picked up long ago.
Once, in similar circumstances, I thought a car had seen my turn signal. We were both headed the same direction. I was in the left lane and the car was behind me in the right lane. I signalled to change lanes. Suddenly the driver sped up and filled the space beside me. Then they turned right into a parking lot. Being kind of forward, I turned in and "chatted" with the driver as he got out of his car. When I asked him why he ignored my signal and closed the gap, the guy told me he didn't see the signal in the sun. This was no argumentative person. He was genuinely apologetic. When I looked the direction we were heading, I realized he was probably telling the truth.
Imagine staring into this. Then think about a small motorcycle turn signal light. Especially an amber colored one. I could see the driver's point. Now, whenever I find myself with the sun bright behind my back, I realize that oncoming drivers might not see my signal. I use hand signals ( polite ones, of course,what were you thinking? ) to help communicate my intentions. I just figure that's part of my responsibility as a rider. It's an ingrained habit by now.
Thus ended another work day. Riding for work and enjoying a whole day on the bike. Not to mention getting paid fifty and a half cents per mile! How lucky can a guy get?
Miles and smiles,