September 29, 2011
Filed under Rider Magazine Blog
The calendar says the autumn equinox was last Friday, and summer is certainly drawing to a close here in South Georgia. Muggy mornings have turned crisp, with temperatures dropping into the upper 50s. The midday heat still hovers around 85 degrees on most days, but everyone who has experienced at least one yearly cycle of Deep South weather knows that autumn is upon us. High school football teams are well into their seasons now, having played their third or fourth game. The hum of my neighbors’ air conditioners is less frequent. And on a trip to the bank the other day I asked a lady how she was doing, and I chuckled to myself when she remarked about “getting quite a chill this morning.”
With just a few months left in the year, I’ve been thinking about motorcycle trips I’ve been on and those I’m considering. I took several trips this year on my Honda Shadow. One was a well-planned journey with my riding buddy, Bob. We left his house near Columbus, Ohio, headed east and then rode down to the Outer Banks into North Carolina. We got to experience some new twisty roads and revisit some old favorites. As always the journey was more enjoyable than the destination. (Read about and see photos from that trip: “Best Friends on Back Roads”).
Another trip wasn’t nearly as well planned out, but it proved to be an enjoyable adventure just the same. A local friend needed to take his Honda Shadow to Connecticut, and he asked if I would check his bike out before he embarked on such a long journey. The longest distance my friend had ridden in one day was just shy of 150 miles, so I was a little concerned about him attempting this alone. After talking to my wife, Deb, I decided to ride along with my friend as far as Ohio, with the added bonus of visiting my parents. Everything worked out fine. We left on a sunny Thursday morning, and arrived at my parents’ home that evening.
Those two trips added over 4,000 miles to the Honda’s odometer, and the bike never skipped a beat. I’m glad I took the time to make both trips. Now, with fall creeping in, I’ve been thinking about another trip. But I want to do something else, something different. Maybe I’ll take my old 1975 Honda CB750 for a trip to Tennessee and then over into Alabama. I don’t know if I trust the bike to make it that far without any problems. Maybe that’s why I’m thinking about taking it. Maybe I need that feeling of being unsure if I’m going to make it to the next town or not. My Shadow has never let me down, and my 1987 BMW K100LT has been nearly as reliable.
So here I sit, contemplating a trip on a bike I’m not real sure about, to a destination I haven’t decided on. The icing on this giant cupcake of a plan is that I’m thinking about going alone. Deb won’t say anything when this subject comes up; she just looks at me with that look only a spouse of over thirty years can give. The first time I brought it up to her, it was as though I suggested walking to the North Pole in my underwear. That was over three weeks ago, and as much as I’d like to think she’s warming up to the idea, deep down I know she isn’t.
I know she is just concerned about me. She doesn’t want me getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with a bike that won’t run and no backup plan. Deb is the planner in our family; as she says, I just “roll with it.” So maybe a compromise is in order. Perhaps I should call my buddy Bob and see if he’s up for another ride. Bob might feel the same way as Deb about my choice of bike, but I doubt he’d say anything. I understand that taking a 37-year-old motorcycle on a long trip when I have two newer, more reliable bikes at my disposal isn’t the prudent thing to do, but being prudent isn’t what motivates me. I can’t really say why, but I just want to. And that’s good enough for me. Like variety, a little risk can be the spice of life.