It doesn’t get any better

Father’s Day 2017

4 hours of riding through North Georgia. 

A quick stop for a terrific smoked pulled pork sandwich and a sweet tea. 

Arrive home to both daughters and my wife. 

Grilled rib-eyes, baked potatoes, sweet corn, and carrot cake. 

Watching the sun go down as I sip bourbon and smoke the cigar I’d been saving for a very special occasion. 

God, if heaven offers even more than this, how will I be able to stand it?

Good Days

The last week has been fun.  Everything from friends celebrating my new ride with me, IMG_5451to co-workers grabbing rides to lunch meetings,IMG_5444 to a ride today with my brother-in-law.

This morning started by seeing my 17 year old off to take her ACT’s.  It felt like another string was cut on the way to launching her out to her own life and family.  Don’t get me wrong, I want her to be her own person and have her own life apart from my values and authority… but the sound of each one of those snapping strings that have tied her life to mine from before she was born… well, it’s not an easy process for any of us, is it?

Then I went to get my brother-in-law back out on the road.  We’ve ridden the Blue Ridge Parkway together, and gone on some day trips around North Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina.  Lately, however, he’s been sidelined a lot from a bad knee.  He can’t ride for more than a few hours without it becoming a painful distraction.

Today he braved it.  We rode out and found ourselves rediscovering roads that led us by marble quarries, orchards, coffee shops, minion planters, trout streams, blue grass players, gold museums, and of course BBQ!

 

His leg lasted about half a day.  Not bad.  And much better than languishing on the couch.

After that my day went to the gym, the grill, the table, the shower, then back to the patio where I enjoyed some time with a friend.

Good days.  I guess they’re all good days, aren’t they?

I can see clearly now

The months preceding sauna season in Georgia can often be referred to as “random typhoon season.”  My rides have been hampered by weather, and work.  Although I have managed to take a long lunch ride with a co-worker who is trying to break in his new Harley, and a few evening rides along the local lakes and backroads, I’m still waiting on a good full 400 mile day that leaves me with a tired perma-smile for the next 48 hours.

Today, Sunday, was a day that I had reserved in my mind for many hours of enjoying some mountains with Betty-Sioux.  Betty-Sioux is the name given at the christening for my new ride.  My youngest daughter is the source of that incredibly fitting moniker.  She’s gifted.

This is how Betty-Sioux appears with her removable windshield removed for more breezy summer soiree’s.

This is how Sunday appears when you were expecting to ride.

IMG_5443

Don’t let the leopard spots fool you. There was no direction to ride that did not include swimming.

I know, I know, I could have ridden carelessly with my face to the winds as I have on many occasions, but I think in my old age I’m growing accustomed to more comfort and less bravado.  If I’m not on a multi-day road trip, I’d just as soon not enjoy the lack of scenery from the rivers on my face shield.

Instead of heading out into the deluges I decided to invest some time in a project that I hope will prove helpful when the days of 110% humidity and 90º temperatures let all Georgians feel a soggy kinship with swamp creatures.

When my Indian doesn’t find it necessary to don the wall of bug collecting plexiglass I need a safe place to keep it’s windshield from harm.  A bag?  A vault?  Another Indian?  All good ideas, but sure enough, some smart fellow on the interwebs had already addressed the problem.

20014-bc523af7fb8d83e30aeb57756a813cce

This is the British version

And after checking out his forum post on an Indian rider website, I tried to copy his homemade craftiness.

I have to admit, my attempt was nowhere near as precisely finished as his but It does seem to do the trick.  And for a rainy Sunday it was probably a better use of my motorcycle time than treating my bike to a mud spray tour.

Soon.  Soon, I’ll be out of the garage again.  I can handle sweat better than rain these days.

I think we’ll be very happy together

People in abusive relationships often cannot see how they are being abused.  It’s not until long after they have left the relationship that they realize what was really going on.

I have come to realize that my Suzuki C109 Boulevard was trying to kill me.

Now that I’m becoming accustomed to another level of motorcycle relationship, I see the C109 for what it was; a mad gorilla with a rocket lodged up it’s butt.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Sure, it was exciting to feel your head snap back every time you rolled on the throttle at 70 to pass the biker who thought he was passing you.  And yes, it was a particular thrill to feel sweat drip down from the brow of your helmet as you leaned all your weight off the left side of the saddle, gripped the bars in white knuckle panic, and counter-steered while praying God would allow you to make the turn without taking out the row of mailboxes.  But still, even with all of that amazing adrenaline rush available to me, I understand now that my true needs were not being met.  We had something, yes.  But what we had isn’t what I need now.

I’ve met someone else.  She’s beautiful.  IMG_5421She’s refined.  IMG_5418She’s sophisticated.  IMG_5420It’s true, she can’t provide that smell of burning oil splashing out of the air cleaner at 120 MPH, but I’ve come to realize that wasn’t healthy for me.  She fulfills me in a much deeper way.

People ask to take her picture when I stop at gas stations.  Passengers in cars give me a thumbs up when I stop at a red light.  She glides around corners like an Indian maiden lightly touching her moccasined feet to the mossy rocks as she floats downhill on a mountain trail. She is not a gorilla.  She is an Indian.

This weekend I will officially welcome her into my life and introduce her to my friends.  This will be a marker of relationship much more official than the simple signing of a legal title, or the mundane paying of property taxes.  This momentous day will begin with a ritual bathing ceremony with many micro-fiber towels and a good coat of wax.  Then later, a shared celebratory meal and beverage with some friends, followed by a burning of some finely rolled Cuban incense.  Then the blessings on my new ride will be spoken and she will be officially mine.

I’ve moved on.  This is the relationship that I need right now.

She’s Home

I admit, I’ve been a bit obsessed with this brand.

And now that it’s in my garage, there’s a piece of me that understands I certainly do not deserve it.

But I like it. IMG_4715

I like it when the mother of my children talks about getting a new jacket so she will look good going for rides with me.

I like it when my 17 year old daughter meets me in the driveway and wants to go for a lap around the neighborhood with me.IMG_5416

This is one smooth riding machine that has been on my bucket list for a long, long time.  And now my plan is to fully appreciate every ride I am blessed to have.  I hope to see you out there.

Happy Mother’s Day

Today, I rode home from Macon on my 2015 Indian Chief Vintage.  Riding always helps me think.

I remembered my Mom.  For as long as I can remember, I would ask my mother what she wanted for Mother’s day and she would reply with something that would benefit me; new shoes, new clothes…  Selfless in every conceivable way, she loved my kids like that too.  2001 was the last Mother’s day I was able to celebrate with her. joyce 2

I remembered I owe so much to the people around me.

I remembered that the woman who drove me down to pick up the bike and was following me through Atlanta traffic was the most amazing influence in my life.  Without her, I’m not certain there would be a me.  I am certain there would not be a me that I liked.  She has shaped the lives of our children with the power of her heart.  Her quiet, constant, beautiful care has changed lives of people around her, lifting them in ways so extraordinary that even she refuses to believe she had anything to do with it.

There will be time here soon to detail my new, undeserved ride, but right now, please, help me remember all the people in our lives who let us take them by the heart, and give of themselves in ways that overwhelm us, lift us up, and give us a better path, but somehow, they never feel as if they’ve done enough.

I wish we could all tell them, that what they’ve done is so much more than enough.  So much more than we deserve.

It’s been a great ride.

Fear and waiting in North Georgia

After my unscheduled get off on March 25th, my incredible wife kindly took me to the emergency room for some expert opinions on my new found bruises and stiff muscles.

I met a nice lady at the admissions window.  She was sincere as she checked me into the emergency room.  “This is exactly why I got rid of my bike.”

“Really?”  I said. “What did you ride?”

“Had a Harley but I was coming around a curve up in the mountains and a car was in my lane.  I had no choice but to lay it down and went off the side.”

“Sounds bad.”

“Scraped up my leg and tore this tendon.”  She showed me her normal looking arm.  “Wow.  So are you glad the bike is gone?”

“No, I still miss it on days like this.  Great weather.  But I see so many people come in here after a wreck,” she moved her hand suggesting the entire hospital ”that I just got rid of it.”

Okay, I’ll not address the fact that the hospital is where every single person comes who has a wreck, so if you want to see them all, work at the admissions deck in the emergency room!  Sorry, I guess I just addressed that fact.

Anyway, my theory is that no one EVER got rid of a bike and is glad to have a hole in their garage (or driveway, or shed…).  I’ve seen fear keep people off horses, roller coasters, and bridges.  Fear can be a great thing.  It can be your brain telling you that there is a boundary you should not cross when you hear that voice say, “what if we get caught?”  It can help you react faster than you even thought possible when avoiding snakes.  It can help you reach a decision, but it should never be the dominant drive in that decision, unless you are having shots fired in your direction.

I’ve talked to lots of people who got rid of their bikes.  I have yet to meet one that says, “I’m so glad I did that.  Best decision I ever made was to stop riding.”

Just a few thoughts while I still hope to fill the hole in my garage SOOON! IMG_5386