Wednesday, June 15

Being grounded. Dealing with priorities. And itching to get on the road…

This has been a tough spring season. Hardly any LSD riding to date. I don’t count riding to school, which takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour plus depending on my starting point. I’m talking about doing 500 or 600 miles on a warm Saturday and perhaps another 500 plus on Sunday. Long weekend rides have taken a back seat to priorities.
A friend of more than 30 years died a few weeks ago. For the past year I’ve visited her several times a week. It has not been easy on multiple levels. But it’s the least one can do for a friend. It’s also been a challenging teaching quarter because my two classes were filled over the brim. It made returning submitted work in a timely fashion pretty dang taxing. But at 11:59 June 14th the quarter officially ended. I shall miss my students but not the struggle to keep my head above water.

(Annual b-day ride with Dave)

Add iffy weather as another reason I’ve not done any LSD rides. Ordinarily the weather does not phase me much. The chancy weather helped me rationalize being grounded more often than not. But when such weather finally turns consistently sweet, it makes longing for two wheels that much more pressing on the spirit. Priorities. I don’t regret spending time with my friend. It made me realize again how I now have fewer years ahead of me than I have behind me. And, she was about 12 years younger than I am! Sometimes, I just sat there while she slept. I gave a tribute at her funeral. Those moments spent with her over the past year prepared me for saying goodbye. We make time for that which is important to us.

While there is some truth to the idea that how old we are has less to do with the number than how we feel, let’s be real. I will not be swinging my leg over a sport turning bike at 83. At that age, I might have to consider a low seat cruiser.

Now, that school is effectively over, my head is filled with ideas for glorious solo adventures with Jesse Owens II (my motorcycle). I yearn for being in a position to take to the road come every mid-June and not returning home until mid-September. It is a dream and a goal that must wait until next year. This summer is taken over—or so it feels—with some necessary writing projects that must be completed before September draws to a close. I’ve come up with hundreds of reasons to avoid the task but avoidance only prolongs the inevitable; besides, I’ve run out of excuses. I have friends who have volunteered to provide quiet space with zero distractions. How can I refuse? Thus, my rides will occur mainly on weekends. One can cover a lot of ground on weekends so, I’ll not complain. I am reminded of my early morning rides, years ago, to Indy for lunch at Shapiro’s Deli and then turning around to return home before dark. Or my visits to St. Louis and always getting home too late for comfort. I can remember a few weekends that totaled 2,000 to nearly 3,000 miles of two day riding. So, I should be able to puts some miles end even if I lack a big destination. I have factored in an Iron Butt ride before the season closes—and it will be official. I’ve done two iron butt rides, both were meant to be official. However, I never turned in the paper work. I wonder if there’s a statute of limitation on that. Hmmm….(Note to self: check IBA rules). While there won’t be any cross country trips, I enjoy the many mini trips. Alas, my winter dreams of a summer solo ride to Nova Scotia must remain a dream for the future.

In addition to modest riding goals this summer, I am re-committing myself to actually publishing the blogs that I pen. I have a backlog that can only be explained as negligence. I was going to say “being busy” could explain it but really, that’s not completely honest. Yes, I’ve been crazy busy. But so what. Lots of folks are busy. I do a bunch of stuff I detest doing but I have to do it. Why am I not doing what I want to do and enjoy doing? Riding and blogging about it is fun, freeing, and the biggest, most natural stress buster that I’ve ever experienced?

(Farewell, F800ST)

The itch to get on the road, beyond normal riding, is severe. I’m loving the GT more and more. I have let go of the ST. I heard it has a great home. The GT is all that the ST was missing for me. When I stroll by the GT, I can hear its engine seductively rumble, calling me…and my leg involuntarily twitches a little, hoping for a good swing over the saddle.