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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thinking about Robert Frost

So I'm riding into work the other's a warm day, the sun is shining and the traffic is light.  Kimmie and I lean into a turn and before you know it I'm laughing like a damn fool into my helmet.  We come out of the turn and I lean into another with a big smile on my face.

I feel light, I feel joyful.

Fast forward eight hours and a very good workday later and I'm driving home.  Again the traffic was light and the night cool.  A cloudless sky and a big Mourning Moon in the sky.   I stretched out and relaxed in the moonlight.  I have not enjoyed riding this much in a while.

I have Thanksgiving off.  I will be spending time with family and friends but then will have a large chunk of the afternoon off.  I have a lot to be grateful for this year, and generally speaking the last two years have been..."rough" is a good word.

As it so happened, I didn't really get a chance to go anywhere on the bike till Sunday.  It was great weather to ride in the Tampa Bay area, and yes, I understand how my Northern friends hate me at this moment.  I headed out with no destination.  No particular reason or place to go, I let Kimmie choose.

She started off in Zephyrhills, went around town then through it.  We stopped briefly in a old trailer park that is eventually going to become an Aldi's.  There is yellow tape around the old majestic oak trees and here and there some native plants are taking over, ripping up the concrete roads through root systems and time.  Up and over Fort King Road...then down into Dade City, past one of the last remaining drive in theatres.

I'm cutting down back roads that I'm not familiar with now.  Thinking about Gary B and how I really wish I had someone close to ride with on days like this.  I pass some odds and ends, pulling off to take some pictures with my phone.

I've been a city boy all my life but there is something about get out into the country, hearing the low soulful bellow of cows, or the hyperactive chatter of chickens that I love.  Wandering back country roads with no destination, no plan suits me.  I find myself looking for curves and take another road I don't know.  It does not deadend but it turns into dirt, and that is not what I have in mind today, so I turn around...stopping at an old cemetery that had to be over 100 years old.  I don't enter out of respect in case it's a family's private land, I  can see that the grass has been cut recently but the gates themselves are rusted open and I can see a orb spiders delicate web spun between the gates.

Kimmie and I agree to point our wheels and head towards home.  It's about 2:30 in the afternoon and I'm hungry for peanut butter and jelly.  For some odd reason I want a comfort food today.  Kimmie purrs a bit as I open her up as we race an old freight train running parallel to the road.  I think of Robert Frost and his famous poem.   The last stanza resonates with me right now.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Stress and Destinations

Last Sunday I did something I've not done in some time.  I went out for Indian food.  I also rode Kimmie about with no destination in mind, and I absolutely loved it.

Why add undo stress?
So much so that in the week that followed I rode Kimmie to work on three different occasions (the other two days were rained filled) and the joy was just not there.  Which got me thinking about traffic and how it affects my mindset.

I thought about this a bit last night as I slogged through traffic in the dark, on the very same roads that I actually used to enjoy riding last year at this time.  Of course, back then it was 1 or 2 in the morning; traffic was light or non existent and I was more concerned about a rogue deer more than anything.   Now I'm coming home at 6:30 or 7 PM and although the traffic is not stop and go, it is heavier than I would like.   I have to think about passing someone safely, about keeping in the headlights of one car (to stay as visible as possible to as many people I can) yet out of the blindspot of another.  I'm worried if that car coming up behind me is looking at his phone or fiddling about with the radio and not paying attention, I'm just adding stress to an already stressful situation.

Working a stressful, but lucrative job doesn't help.

Last Sunday I had no stress, no destination.  I was riding to ride.  To be free and I know my fellow bikers will understand what I mean.  I'm beginning to understand why some bikers only take their rides out on the weekends.

An old photo but one of my favorites
Plus, in all honestly, I have nowhere to stow my gear at work, it's easier for me to wear dress shoes rather than riding boots, or not have to put on my jacket; with its bright yellow colors, on the back of my chair.   I've been teased about directing traffic at work...all in the name of ATGATT.

I do love riding though and have found motorcycling to be a unique "in" when working with clients.  I've spent hours talking to a company located in Sturgis, South Dakota about the insanity that is Sturgis.  And how after the rally it's just a dull, quiet little town.  It's given my company and theirs a connection we would not otherwise have, and a nice bonus check for me when they signed up for our services.

I've found that I'm happiest when I'm with a group riding to a destination I don't know or may have never otherwise been.  As I look back I've found I'm been happy when I'm alone, taking a road going somewhere....anywhere really.   Maybe that's the secret for getting back on the bike and riding more.

Don't have a plan.

I look at the plans for this weekend.  A Christmas bazaar that somehow I got recruited to work, and I don't remember anyone asking me to actually work it.  How Sue and I want to go visit a nearby RV dealership for a half formed nebulous idea that is in the back of our heads.   Research I'll call it.

It's supposedly going to rain this weekend and even though I've ridden in the rain, ever since my accident I've been weary of "less than ideal" riding conditions.    I used to enjoy that too, and I hate being wet.  I liked the challenge of it.  The cool air, the fresh smell...I supposed that will come in time too.

For now...I'll try to put the stress aside.  Susan's condition is improving, my job (while stressful) is secure and the company really came to my aid in October when all this shit started with Susan's health.  We're going to beat it.

She encourages me to ride, to get out and see the world.  How can you not love a woman who thinks of  her long time boyfriend first?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Been gone

...but I'm back now.   Sadly it's a working weekend for me, once I actually get my ass off this chair.

Several weeks ago I decided to add a separate blog to the stable.  This one dealing with more regular life, politics, sports and whatever the hell I felt like putting out into the void of the internet.

You can find that blog; which I'm calling The Confused Ramblings of a Diseased Mind here.

Take it for what its worth.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Why don't I want to ride more?

This past weekend was lovely.  It was warm and sunny with a near zero chance of rain, the humidity; always a killer here in Florida, was manageable.

It's Monday morning as I write this.  The day is going to be warm, a tad humid but again something manageable.  There is a slight chance of rain (15%) around 2 PM but I'll be at work then.  Nice and safe in my office and Kimmie will be tucked into her safe parking spot that is reserved for motorcycles only.  Protected by an old oak tree with leaves as big as my open hand.

Sounds like a perfect day to ride in.

Only I don't want to.

In fact, I've toyed with the idea of selling her.

I started this blog way back on August 23rd, 2011.  I'm come a long way in that five years.  I've put on a lot of miles and have undergone two nasty accidents.  I've almost been hit, I've almost gone down when a animal committed suicide under my tires.  I've avoid a deer so close that I could have reached out and touched it.

I've also seen wonders.  Gone down country roads with a song in my heart.  I've watched sunsets and sun rises through my visor.  I've stretched out my arms on my bike and went "WHOSH" like a little child.  I've felt like a little child.  I've made new friends via riding.

So why don't I want to ride?

I used to put ten, twelve thousand miles on my bike per year.  Due to circumstances the last two years my time in the saddle has been a lot lower than that.   Lack of riding?  Could that be the cause of my apathy?  I know that most of the riding I do is simple commuting, and that doing it by car allows me to enjoy my morning Duncan Donuts and coffee while listening to NPR.  Something that is impossible on my Kimmie.

As we near the end of 2015 I look back and think about all the time lost due to Sue's ongoing medical issues...she is the primary motivator in my life and frankly I'm not sure what I would do without her.  She does and always will come first.

Thankfully things seem to be looking up on that front.  Also for most of 2014 and 2015 I've been chasing mechanical issues as many long time readers know.

So many that I've played with the idea of getting a new bike.  Still though....would I ride if I did?  Besides, now is not the time for a new bike.  Sue's health concerns come first.  Plus, I've about 3 more years to go and I'll be in a much better spot financially (both cars will be paid off in full) and then I can play with the idea of taking on new debt.

In a few minutes I'll be going to work.  I will be riding Kimmie.  I know that the highway is out of the question today as there was a nasty accident that has traffic backed up for miles.  I know that I have to leave a little earlier than usual.  I know that I will crave my Duncan Donuts coffee.  I think, feel, that if I'm going to recapture that magic that I once felt I need to get back on the bike.

I need to ride more again.  I also know that I have a long ride planned for Saturday, so we will see how that goes.