With no kids or grandkids to hide eggs for, I followed my passion. You guessed it, I taught a class. This time it was in Eugene, about an hour South of me. One day's ride was dry while Sunday tried to drown me. All in all, though, it was great fun. Another batch of new riders was launched while one man had the chance to find out in a safe place that riding isn't for him. Success either way.
I want to share some musings from these two days.
It's amazing how an image can evoke such emotions in one's mind. This hill is visible from our range. There's something about it that makes me think of freedom and adventure. It doesn't really go anywhere. Over the hill the road drops into the commercial outskirts of Eugene. Still, though, every time I look at the hill I think of adventure and fun on a bike. There actually is adventure on some days. Those trees are home to a lot of deer. I've come around the blind on-ramp only to find a deer staring at me. More than once. Another reason to expect the worse when you can't see the end of the corner.
I left for home about 5 PM on Saturday. Katie wanted to go to church in the evening and I had agreed to pop on home and join her. Sophie was content to stay on the Interstate for a while. Soon, though, she smelled a familiar curvy road and took the bit in her teeth. It would only add about 15 minutes to the ride so I let her take us there. Heck, I could always eat after church instead of before! In Harrisburg there's a private air strip that parallels the road. One of the neatest things about being on a bike is that it makes me so much more open to unexpected adventures. I'm more willing to take a little detour or pause a bit to look at something. We found a small treasure on the ride. How many cagers miss these kind of things in their insulated boxes?
A small aircraft was banking in towards the landing strip. It was an ultralight type craft, similar to a Breezy. A fixed wing crossed over the top of the cockpit. The motor was in the middle of the wing with a prop at the rear. Amber colored vinyl type plastic enclosed the pilot who sat out in front of the wing and motor. As the craft lined up with the runway, I slowed to match its speed. The plane and the motorcycle gracefully travelled together. Rubber kissed tarmac as the aircraft touched down. Pilot and rider exchanged waves. I was looking West and the setting sun added an extra glow to the aircraft. It was a magical moment.
Sunday morning brought rain. Children would be hunting soggy Easter eggs. City streets were quiet as I left town. The freeway, however, was busier. Riding in traffic in the rain has its own challenges. For some reason I had the same thing happen to me over and over. It wasn't a problem as I always expect drivers to do stupid things. Have you noticed how common this scenario is getting?
I ride mostly in the hammer lane. This stretch of freeway has two lanes. It's safer for me to ride a little faster than prevailing traffic. Too much lane changing can be a hazard. That's right, Officer, I'm doing it for safety, not because I like to ride briskly! Anyway, people in the right lane are driving at the speed limit or a little under. Pretty soon they start to come up on an even slower vehicle. Faster traffic like me are coming up in the left lane. It used to be that these slower drivers would wait for a safe gap and then move into the faster lane. Not anymore. Maybe one in a hundred does that.
What I see over and over, whether in a car or on a bike, is that these drivers pull over right in front of me. Are people collectively getting too stupid to fathom how dangerous this is? Are they just getting so selfish or rude that they don't care? Do they figure everyone else has to adjust to them? Has cruise control gotten so spiritually powerful that people fear to take their vehicles off of it? All I can tell you for sure is that it really disgusts me how people drive now.
Speaking of riding in the rain, Sophie was getting pretty darned dirty.
I ride in any weather and Sophie's no Garage Queen. Who has time to be washing that often? Thursday afternoon I changed her oil. My intentions were to wash her then but it started hailing. Plus the wind was blowing cold into the carport. I lost my enthusiasm for washing so I let it go. Most of the time Sophie's ok with that. She's proud to be a Road Warrior-ette. Once in a while, though, she gets a little insecure. Like when she was parked next to this hunky BMW GS big dual sport.
I know how she feels. I'm pretty secure in who I am. I'm not fat and not bad looking. In fact, some gal recently told me that in my black Rayban aviator style sunglasses I looked sort of like Tom Cruise. She was neither blind, drunk, my wife, or my mother! I don't flirt with women. My heart is solidly faithful to Katie, my best buddy and soulmate. Why is it then, that when an exceptionally pretty girl walks by, I automatically stand up straigher and expand my chest a little?
Sophie shined her two little low beams at me. I could see shame in her gaze. Guilt moved me to wash and spiff her up today. Katie and I are riding her to Medford this weekend. That's a three hour ride South. Two new instructors are teaching this weekend with me as a Mentor. Sophie won't have any reason to be self conscious. She's all clean and shiny. I even applied a little Armour-All restoring cream to her plastics and seat. Not too much on the seat, though, I don't want Katie sliding off!
Six fifteen PM Sunday saw me once more heading up the road to home. Staying on the freeway got me home in 45 minutes. You see, Katie had told me she'd have a homemade pizza in the oven when I got home. Sure enough, I walked in the back door and was greeted by the smell of pizza dough and spiced sausage cooking. Heavenly.
What better way to end a weekend of being immersed in my two wheeled passion? A sweet woman and a hot pizza!
Miles and smiles,