One of the great things about riding is how it helps me appreciate small things. Ok, not always. There's days when I hit the road, put my head down, and twist the throttle. Then there's days like this week. The agenda calls for a couple of hundred easy miles a day. I'm playing Motorcycle Santa again. Stops are loosely scheduled which leaves a lot of room for discovery. Here's some small thoughts from today's run.
First stop is in the Northwest Portland industrial area. For those local, it's way out west on Columbia Blvd. Mapquest says it's 73.86 miles from home. Nice distance for an early morning jaunt in the cold. On the way up I pass by Mike's tram and have a great view of Mt. Hood. The day is cold and cloudy, but one side of the mountain is lit by some distant sunshine. It's photo worthy but I'll be danged if I'm going to stop in the curves and get my ass run over for a picture. You'll just have to look at Mike's post to see the mountain.
It's more than a small blessing, but picture going to bed at night and thinking about work the next day. Sleep can sometimes be fleeting from stress. Not so this week. Sleep is still fleeting but it's due to enthusiasm about the coming work day. I've been greatly blessed to be able to ride for work a lot. This week has been especially great.
What's really interesting is the reactions from the people that work at the distributors' offices. Guys want to talk bikes. Some of the women look at me with extra interest. The same women, who if they saw me on the street sans riding gear, wouldn't look twice. Worse yet, they'd look away!
We have this one distributor where the owner has pictures of himself all over his office walls. Most are of him on bikes at different track corners. This guy is my age but much crazier. Hard to imagine, I know. He crashes more than he finishes a race. Each visit is filled with stories of his daring exploits, track and street. Last time he told me how he ran his KTM off the road into a muddy ditch and had to be towed out. He knows I ride and am an instructor. Not sure how he feels he's going to impress me with his crash stories.
Today I showed up on Elvira.
This is in their parking lot with Columbia Blvd behind the bike. You can see the pavement's still wet. It was 33 degrees (f) when I left home. By this time it was all of 37 degrees. By the way, if you look closely you'll see I've done something that I tell new riders to never do. There might be a prize for the first correct answer.
Anyway, this guy comes out to look at Elvira. He's still telling stories. I see him look at the tires, both of which are scuffed all the way out on both sides. He looks at the ground off peg feelers. Then the sidestand all scraped up. He bends down and looks at the scraped center stand. He gets quieter and quieter. Kind of like somebody bragging about doing something finding themselves next to somebody who's actually done it. I don't say much. Elvira's doing the talking for us. I know it shows my big ego, but it was pretty cool!
My next stop is on the road out of Portland towards St. Helens. It's still darn cold and my route has taken me along the river. Which is a cold and foggy trip through the shipping ports of Portland. I have to wait a bit to see the owner.
There's a shop dog that hangs out here. He's a huge Newfoundland with a friendly personality. Like a St. Bernard, but black. I'm standing in the lobby in my 'Stich. My hands are freezing, despite my heavy gloves. The dog wants me to pet him. There is no way to describe how wonderful it is to run cold hands through that long black fur! The dog loves the attention and I luxuriate in his warmth! When else would you discover such a blessing except during a cold motorcycle ride?
Back at the bike, I grab my cell phone from the tank bag. There's a missed call from the boss. I return the call. At the end of the conversation I tell him that I'm on the bike today. Telling your boss that you will be unavailable for a while because you're riding? Priceless!
This post is getting long so I'll split it up. Stay tuned for Part 2 and how Irondad gets trapped in a whirlpool while looking for a restroom.
Miles and smiles,