Monday, December 29, 2008
FINALLY!! RIDING WEATHER
I finally was able to get Miss Velvet out of the garage Saturday, and back on the road once again. For the past month, the weather has been sucky every time I was at home, leaving little opportunity to ride her. I'm not going to go out into the rain, unless I get caught in it while I'm out, and I have a rule that if it's cold enough to see my breath in the air, it's too cold to ride. On top of all the financial woes I've faced this past year, getting pneumonia and knocking myself out of work for a couple of weeks sure won't help matters at all, so I'll avoid any possibility of that, thank you.
Okay, okay -- there were a few milder, unrainy days when I could have ridden, if I'd pushed myself a little, but I didn't. Other matters intruded on me and by the time I'd ridden any distance at all, it would have gotten dark. Once night comes, at this time of year, the milder daytime temperatures begin to drop rapidly. I get my buns frozen often enough in my trucking job, operating "up nawth." To subject myself to that misery deliberately, on a motorcycle, seems idiotic to me. So, I declined it.
I rode to a relative's home, out in the countryside, visited awhile with them, then headed back into town. It was a nice ride, on a nice day. Temperature was almost 70 and it was mostly sunny, with only a few afternoon clouds. The perfect riding day I'd been waiting for. The stuttering, rumpety-rump sound of Velvet's Harley exhaust was music to my ears after such a long layoff and I relished the deep, throaty tone of her pipes as we rode along. A man and his beloved machine, out on a beautiful day! What more could one ask for? Riding temporarily separated me from all my worries. Who cares? Just me and the breeze, cruising along. If I could spend my whole life like this, I would. Too bad I can't; each ride has to end, sooner or later, my euphoria rudely interrupted by this thing called "reality." But at least I do have Velvet; she's my escape valve and there will be other rides taken, in the future.
Took a detour by way of my favorite hangout, Coyote Joe's, on my journey home, perhaps to prolong the pleasure as long as possible, perhaps to socialize with some acquaintances. Or, maybe because I was hungry. Ya think? The lot was full of bikes, as I rode in. Everybody was out on two wheels today -- the nicest one we'd had in ages. It looked like they were having one of their famous (and notorious) summer blowouts, but I knew that was still months away and the only party scheduled anytime soon was on New Year's Eve. So, it was just everyone out enjoying the nice weather, I assumed. I parked, got rid of my "brain bucket," went in and ordered up a cheeseburger platter and a bottle of brew. Only a couple of people there I knew at the time, and they were with some other friends, so I watched the TV and glanced at a biker magazine on my table. I traded text messages with a trucker pal of mine, who was braving the snow and ice out in the Wild West, where he was hauling a load back eastbound. Told him about the nice weather we were having locally, but if he was envious of my good fortune, he didn't let on at all. I guess he was too preoccupied with getting down those snowy 20-mile-long downgrades in the mountains out there in one piece. I know I would be.
After eating and a couple more brews, I paid up, fired Velvet up again, and headed back home. It was night by then, but still mild, temperature-wise, due to the unusually warm weather. I'd worn my half-helmet and the only goggles I had with me were my wrap-around sunglasses. Unsuitable for use at night, so I had to make do with just my prescription lenses for eye protection. Not enough, as my eyes began to water a little, from the effect of the wind. It didn't get bad enough to really hamper me, though, and I made it home all right. Sunday morning it was raining again, so I plugged Velvet's battery tender back in, so she'll start right up whenever I ride her again. Today it's nice again, but no time to ride, as I have to leave back out later this morning. Back to the road, back to making what money I can, back to the grind once more. There's New Year's to come yet, of course, but the biggie, Christmas, is over for another year. I have a doctor appointment on Jan. 5th, so I know I'll be back. But not for a whole week, like last week. Can't afford too many unpaid "vacations" like that one.
I owe, I owe, so it's back to work I go. . .