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Monday, October 17, 2011

Feeling homesick this time of year. Riding in the fall.

I always have mixed feelings with the arrival of fall.  Living previously in Western Pennsylvania I was blessed with remarkable colors, cooler nights, football (both the European game and my beloved Steelers), sharp apple cider - either spiked or not, warmed or not.  Egg Nog - again spiked or not and either served with or without chocolate favored whipped toppings.

It was also depressing as the nights grew longer and the days hinted of winter just around the corner.  Where I have always enjoyed working in my yard, raking leaves is a never ending task...perhaps better suited to the horrors of Hades.  I've often wondered if Sisyphus was given the choice of pushing the rock up the hill or raking leaves.  I'm sure he chose the rock.  I will not mention the four letter word starting with an "S" that always replaces the raking of leaves with another back breaking labor.

Now that I live in Central Florida there is a much subtler autumn.  Marked by the migratory arrival of the grey and blue tufted snowbirds, the drop in the Gulf's water temperature from "warm bathwater" to "bathwater" and the cooler days and nights designed for riding.  Although the other day when I rode to work the ambient temperature gauge on my Bergie said "93".   That is "Freaking Hot" for the understanding of my international readers.  When I left work at midnight the temperature was a much more manageable 73 degrees.

When I ride home at night, I normally just throw a sweat shirt on under my bright yellow riding jacket and that is the extent of my winter gear.  I certainly cannot imagine such things as heated pants and gloves and other equipment that many of my northern friends either have or are considering to extend their riding season.  Some I am sure have already started to put their bikes away.

I can picture what it must be like right now in my home state of Pennsylvania, the leaves blazing with color.  Riding at a leisurely pace along the back roads just living in the moment, pulling over in some small road side cafe', where the locals bring their own coffee mugs that hang proudly displayed behind the freshly made pumpkin pie.  I can just imagine what it would be like to put my 400cc Burgie into the twists and turns of my home.

It's not that adventures and twisties can't be found here in Florida.  A simple trip to get gas lead to my going out of my way some 60 odd miles just to ride on a clear and sunny morning, where I passed someone on a 1980's era Honda Elite that looked ecstatic to see another scooter rider.  It's these moments I am starting to realize, is why people ride.   I also begin to feel that the scooter is well suited for me at this stage in my life...where I am more interested in enjoying the journey than rushing from point A to point B.

If this is what growing older is...I can live with it.


Anonymous said...

Great post, Robert, and one I can definitely relate to. I hail from western NY originally and out here in Idaho, though we still have distinct seasons, the fall foliage is mostly yellow. Definitely not as pretty as back east. By the way, my hubby is from western PA & a huge Steelers fan (of course). He grew up in Butler, PA. Do you know it?

But it does sound like your scooter lifestyle in Florida is darn good too!

The City Mouse in the Country said...

Although I grew up in Pittsburgh, I lived for 2 years in a area called Grove City. I worked in Butler for a while as well.

SonjaM said...

Lovely post. Nothing beats the fall foliage in the East. In BC we only get mostly yellow and brownish but it still looks pretty against a blue sky. I understand what you mean about the scooter being the perfect fit four you. I have had several bikes, and liked them all but I love my Vespa.