Check it out…

Have you ever experienced the self-checkout at your local Wal-Mart store? You know the ever increasing method of self-scanning your items and paying without having to speak to a single person? A sure sign of technology assisted labor cost reduction and of course significant cost savings for me the customer. Right?

Today was my day of errands running and I have to admit I was making impressive progress; one task to the next and on to the next. Making such good time in fact that I found myself with one hour and forty five minutes before the next appointment. I previously had planned to go shopping after my last appointment and I had prepared myself and large shopping list. With the day’s good fortune and efficiency I thought: “Cool, I’ll hit the local Wal-Mart and then I can head back home after my final appointment for the day. It’s all good!”

Once inside the store, I have to say my good fortune continued as I was a picture of efficiency moving from aisle to aisle grabbing the items on my list. I even took time to compare prices and purchase the best buy. Now this is an impressive statement given that I am a guy and a single guy at that who until recently has never needed to shop for myself. This efficiency continued throughout the shopping experience right up until I had that one small incident with the kid in fresh produce. I turned the corner and was walking along with intent of selecting the perfect avocado and tomato at just the right price from the long bin of items. I was at about half way down the aisle when a young person in his late teens or early twenties pulled his stocking cart across the aisle blocking any passing opportunity I might have had. You know I thought to myself, had he done this in his car he would likely have gotten shot in the latest of road rage incidents reported as breaking news over and over again by the ever efficient news networks we have become accustomed. Does anyone remember Walter Cronkite and his signature statement, “And that’s how it is?’ Oh the good ole day’s when honesty was in style and propaganda was minimized for the sake of truth to be told. Oh wait, that is another story entirely. Sorry about that, I digress, back the story at hand.

So I was thinking ok he’ll move and let me pass. Instead he picked up and began stocking pineapple on the bin. He was facing me with full view of his face which had a strange look best described as a creepy smile. My first thought was I wonder if he is suffering from schizophrenia and the voices are telling jokes? Then remembering modern day I looked for ear phones in his ear. He must have had some amazing earbuds because I couldn’t even see them. Finally I said; “Dude, you gonna move so I can pass or what?” He actually physically jumped a little at the direct verbal stimulus I had given apparently he hadn’t even noticed me before. He recognized his error and said, “Oh, sorry” and moved the stocking cart giving me a passing route. Politely I said, “thanks man.” No reply given so apparently he was back with the voices. No worries, I continued making up the time on every selected item.

Finally I glanced at my phone time and found thirty minutes before my next appointment. Among the items I had selected there were a large number of fresh fruit and vegetables items. So I headed to the clerks up front. I have to admit being fairly new at shopping, I have been intimidated for months by the self check-out station when I have fresh fruit and vegetables. No scan code bars on those bad boys and how in the world do you look them up?

I confidently strolled to the front of the store and scanned for the ever familiar numbered light which would indicate a speedy and efficient clerk was scanning and happily discussing the beauty of the day with other joyful and pleasantly satisfied customers. Do you remember back in the day when this was the case and people actually possessed the skill to verbally interact with one another and enjoy the exchange? I actually half expected and opportunity to engage in conversation and maybe make a new friend in the process.

I saw two lights illuminated on the far end of the store. I began walking to those clerks and while on my way I passed bank after bank of self-check stations but I have to admit I allowed myself to be intimated. I have fruit and vegetables and no idea how to check them out. I walked on toward the two friendly clerks who were surely waiting at the illuminated stations. However, as I got closer I noticed the lines. The sight reminded me of long lines I had seen on television as a kid of Russian people in Communist Russia waiting in the streets to buy toilet paper. Still I was intimidated and got in line and waited after all I had thirty minutes before the next appointment. Fifteen minutes later I hadn’t moved an inch. In fact I stepped forward in line to make sure the clerk was still breathing as she hadn’t moved a muscle in over five minutes as best I could tell. I was in serious debate with myself at this point, do I just leave the cart with all of my carefully selected items and walk out so that I could make the appointment? Do I buck up and give the self-check out a try? Finally another gentleman walked up, recognizing me as a friendly person who would engage in conversation he said, “Holy cow is this line even moving?” I replied, “not very darn fast.” He said, “I don’t know how but I’m going to try the self-check out”. Building my courage with his own I following him to the near endless bank of self-check stations. Now this good man had less than five selected items but his courage inspired me.

I walked up to the readily available faceless and cold scanner. I selected the first few items which had bar codes; one after another the tone sounded and my confidence built. Finally I grabbed the packet of grapes and scanned them. “BONK”… “unrecognized item, set it a side and/or ask the customer service specialist for help” the computer instructed. I did so and scanned all of the other items in my cart with bar codes. So many were there that I began to stack the bagged items on the floor because I still had a number of items in the cart including fresh fruit and vegetables. I felt stress and pressure begin to build. Finally the customer service representative walked past. I said: “excuse me, can you help me I don’t know how to do these fruits and vegetables?” Clearly irritated she said, “you don’t know how? Just hit this button and the type in the number, if that doesn’t work put it on the scale and hit this button and select the item from the menu.” She then began to walk away. At which time I became a bit more persuasive; I have a bit of a reputation for doing this occasionally. I said, “don’t go anywhere, watch me do this!” The first item was bananas and “BONK” the first attempt didn’t seem to have worked, I tried again “BONK”. With a heavy sigh she stepped closer and began to watch and correct my many mistakes correcting me as I went. I retried the bananas again, it worked. Brussel sprouts next; boom, green pepper next; boom, after a few more items; boom, boom, boom I began to go faster confidence and a smile building on my face. Finally, thinking “I’ve got this”, I released the customer service specialist from my control to go help other learning customers.

I gathered my sacked items from the floor, paid the lower than normal price I was certain that I had gotten because of the cost saving technology and headed for the door. I passed the customer service specialist as she helped others, I stopped, walked over to her touching her on the arm I said; “thank you for the assist it was quite an education.” Finally, she smiled and said you’re welcome have a nice day. “You too,” I said to my new friend. I’ve never ceased to be amazed at what a kind word and a thank you can do.

Upon arriving home following the next appointment I had the very real feeling that I had taken items for which I did not pay. So inquiring minds must know I am told. I actually checked the items off the receipt as I put them away at my home. One after the other I found on the receipt and put it away. Finally when all items were stowed each having been located on the receipt. I examined the receipt in amazement at the efficiency of this self check-out. Could it actually be that accurate?

While doing this I noticed one item listed twice on the receipt and only one check mark. One glaring error on the entire receipt. Any guesses? If you said “banana” you are so right. BONK, so much for cost savings.

So check it out, the way I see it is, Sam Walton owes me some bananas and on my next trip I’m going to find my new friend the customer service specialist and say, “Hey do you remember me and those stupid bananas?” I have a ten spot that says she does just because I told her “thank you”… Never underestimate the power of a kind word.

Look…

The value of a word; well, it’s astounding and few are better than the word “Look”. I have had moments when I am completely alone and amazing things are discovered.

Like the amazing sunrise of yesterday with its lightening blue sky over a black desert landscape and the redness of clouds set all blaze with the days first rays of brilliant light. As I drove through the desert, the voice of Louis Armstrong singing in my mind; “What a Wonderful World!”

“I see skies of blue and clouds of white. The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. And I think to myself what a wonderful world.”

And yes, I may well have sang along with Louis for a time, Kevin being my only witness, to a rare but magnificent sight.

Moments such as these are amazing to be sure, but the power of “look” is on my mind and I have discovered. For to experience the power of “look” one must share with another.

Like a day prior from this wonderful sunrise morning, when in the amazing place we call Zion with a special friend. We walked and we talked and sat and we held hands and each other so close. Oh, what an amazing day to have been together and the power of look was there to be sure.

Oh “look” there is an amphitheater but it’s all wrong for the seats are facing the wrong way; let’s sit on the stage and ”look” at the beauty of the real act going on in the mountains behind.

Oh, “Look” there are people up there on that rock you can see them shining in the brightness of sun.

“Look” at that cliff. If someone fell from way up there how in the world would you get them down?

Oh my, “Look” at that buck in the field. He hasn’t a worry in the world and oh hey, “look” there is another and another. And “look” at that big one; he is standing right in town.

Just “Look” at those yellow leaves, I just love the color of fall leaves here against the red rock.

Oh that stream is dry, that isn’t a good sign. But “look” this one is running with cool water from above. We should give Kevin a drink.

Hey, do you hear the rumble? “Look” there they are over there. On a motor; that is the best way to see the park.

Oh “look” at that, what a pretty picture.

What makes look such a powerful word is that it also means share. Memory fades and time takes a toll but of shared moments one can always say to the other: “Hey, do you remember when…?”

And for me” look” makes adventure better in a magical way. Those who can say “look” are blessed beyond measure for it means you’re together.

The case of the missing…

I have recently noticed a phenomenon that I simply can’t explain. It is my hope that a reader will be able to shed light on this unprecedented dark mystery. The phenomenon I speak of is that of the constant disappearance of socks. You see I come from a generation like many of you that require socks to be worn on feet and that said socks must match. My youngest daughter is from a different generation and simply don’t care if her socks match or not. Pink, green, yellow, white, black, doesn’t matter to her, all that’s required is that there be two. So with that in mind this investigation may mean little to her and to her generation.

To the rest of us of an older generation it can be quite frustrating. I have recently taken a far more active role in the washing and drying of clothing and like many of you have noticed an eerie phenomenon. That is the disappearing socks.

At first I noticed the sole socks returning from the laundry without a mate. It seems there is always one sole survivor from every load who is hanging around with a lonely one sock look. So I thought well I’ll just hang onto it in the laundry basket until the next load and surely the mate will show up. However, what I found was more single socks returning from the laundry. And the laundry basket filled with mis-matching single socks. Becoming quite concerned I resorted to speaking to the socks as I placed them into the wash. Suggestions such as hold heals and stick together or keep an eye on your mate were made. Still to my amazement socks continue to return with mates missing. After some time I resorted to tossing the mismatched socks into the trash and buying new replacements in an effort to appear appropriately clothed as to our generational protocol.

The mystery continues to this day, where could they be going? Two socks in one sock out, time and again. I have even taken to asking friends if they too have noticed the inability to get two socks of matching persuasion to return from the laundry on a consistent basis. I have found this is a very wide ranging issue and nearly all informed they too had experienced the phenomenon. My investigation continues.

Last month I thought that I had caught a break and that the case of the disappearing sock would soon be concluded. You see I noticed that the dryer stopped working as efficiently as it once had. I thought oh no the heat element must be out. However, I noticed the dryer was getting hot as I could still feel the sides of the dryer were warm to the touch as the dryer was in operation. I further noticed that the vent did not seem to be putting out the flow of air one would expect from the operating dryer.

Suddenly a theory began to build, what if the socks were being held hostage by the dryer? What better place to hold them but in the vent? Both ends contained jail like bars that would prevent the poor separated socks from escaping and returning to the laundry pile where I could discover them once again and put them back into service.

So with this theory in mind, confident I was about to free a number of hostage held socks, I pulled out the dryer and removed the vent hose. Looking through I saw no light and no clear passage of moist air to escape. Confident I was and surely I knew I was about to free the poor mismatched socks from the dryer’s captivity. I reached into the vent and pulled out the most solid plug of grey dryer lint I have ever seen but not a single sock to be found. The vent was replaced and the dryer was started, instantly the effectiveness improved to like new.

Having failed at solving the mystery of the missing lone sock; a new theory has begun to emerge. What of the possible flight of the sock? I mean after all; what has a sock to look forward to? A life of covering a stinky big foot, being walked on for an entire life time, and a repeated cycle of washing and wear waiting the day when pure religion will spare. You know how to tell when a sock has religion? It’s the appearance of holiness. On that wonderful day for the sock is nearing the end of its tortuous life ole’ Moe the big toe will make his appearance; sticking his face out just to say, “well hello”.

So with this theory, which is the truth I am sure, that the socks have not gone missing at all as once thought, but have taken off running on feet of their own. With that thought I now wonder, do socks with running feet have sock of their own or do they run on bare feet?

 

A ride through the desert

Life as seen from a motor is different; ask anyone who rides and you will see the knowing smile. It’s difficult to describe but I will certainly try. On a motor everything seems closer as if you and the bike are a part of it and the senses come to life.

Like the exhilaration of a cross wind while traveling at 80 or higher. The only clue its coming is the dirt devil in distance and the tell-tale movement of bushes and grass. Then when it hits; what you gonna do? I hope you said lean into it and throttle on!!! The vibrations of motor, of speed, and of wind that blurs vision and courage is needed to press on. Then as quickly as it comes it has gone and the lean you have given must be taken away. Like a dance it should be the bike and the wind, back and forth one with another and me sitting the saddle.

Or the synchronization of riders when weaving through traffic; each and all are individuals but it is a beautiful sight when all move together like a single long and powerful weaving snake for the safety of all.

A sunset, a scene, and a wonder of a darkened blue sky broken only by the black of sky line. Vistas, plateaus, and spiraling mountains with needle type tips all appear to be black against that darkened blue sky.

Oh the brilliance of a sunset in a distant desert scene. So bright and so real you could touch it by hand. I know now the inspiration of the flag that stands to this day for this wonderful Arizona land.

The darkness of desert completely blackened at night whose star struck wonder isn’t spoiled by light. Scanning for danger the headlights they shine and of those riding in lead. The danger is present who knows what it could be; debris, a deer, a rabbit, a tortoise, any critter will do. But diligent we are and so throttle on.

Watching the holding of hands by soul mates who are bounded by love and enjoying their presence. A bear hug is given from a sweet rider behind when the warmth of the day melts the chill in the air.

The lone cowboy on horseback, red shirt I have seen, rifle in scabbard, he rides with the cattle and it seems an endless prairie off Route 66.

This road that we travel is a legend to be. Made during a time when things, well they were done right. For this highway has lasted, it was here long before me and following my adventure it will certainly be; from LA to Chicago it stands a testament of time. On it I hope God holds another adventure for me.

A Roadhouse Café, apple pie al a mode served hot with vanilla ice cream simply nothing could be better. Of Searchlight they say in this town there is gold and silver a plenty but a search light may be needed for one to find any.

A town built on neon and glitter of street, the zip line I wanted but couldn’t get a seat. So we wander around the bands they are playing, the music is loud, the sites there are many, some funny, some sad, and other just weird but we took it all in till late in the evening  and to call it a night. Oh have I mentioned the beautiful women we saw. Whether working a casino or a ghost town attraction the warmth of the season made the scenery pleasing.

The Mannequin’s store in Seligman is a very strange sight with plenty of attention from travelers there; but the sight of five motors parked on the street, well that seemed to be a sight that just simply could not be beat.

The Ghost town with bare ass’s a plenty in the streets; across town they do constantly wander. I have made many good friends there with whom I relate and wouldn’t you know  it they are those very same Donkey’s.

A rally attended and the bikes there are plenty. Stock are for some and custom for many. Friend greeting friends and all with a love of the motor, the ride, or is it the life? It doesn’t seem to matter.

The beautiful contrast of blue on a river when winding its way like a snake through the desert. And oh of the power of water and wind over time to have carved this canyon from the rock of the land. Felt is a twinge of regret at knowing of loved ones now gone having never seen this remarkable sight. But comfort is near and sure in the knowing there are worlds without number each having scenes equal in wonder. It is in this realm that those loved one now wander and I hope that one day we will wander together.

To ride on the ridge the south rim for certain at some points so close as to see into the chasm. The birds on the up draft they soar and they glide sweeping back and forth from side to the side while the motor she howls as we roll through this a  magical land.

The cold of the wind and a rise in elevation can be such a strain; the heat from the motor and with a twist of wrist on the throttle, adventure is on. Endurance a hallmark of those who don’t weaken the reward at rides end a hot tub serves as a welcoming beacon.

Memories made, and they all say “I’m free”, I can’t think of another way I’d like it to be. These are but a few from a single adventure of some good friends and I with the motor called Lizzie!

Ride on my friends…

Paprika, the Devils Spice

 

I was reminded of the old commercial on television from years ago. A Rolls Royce pulls up at an intersection and the passenger rolls down his window and askes; “pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” “But of course!!!” Yes, you guessed it, there is a story here.

 

Recently, during the Easter holiday, I was fortunate enough to be invited to two separate Easter Feasts. Of course I viewed this as a constant grazing opportunity and who am I to refuse? I eagerly accepted both. I was asked to bring a green salad to one gathering and thought I would prepare Devil Eggs for the second. I don’t know what it was, but I had a serious hankering for Devil Eggs.

 

On Easter morning I rolled out of bed early for my first attempt at making Devil Eggs. Yes, I am still learning to cook but my confidence grows. I went to my go to source; Google, and I searched the assemble instructions for Devil Eggs. I assembled all of the needed hardware as per the recently acquired instructions.

 

          Egg’s, Check

 

          Mayonnaise ,Check

 

          Dry ground mustard, Check

 

          White Vinegar, Check

 

          Salt, Check

 

          Ground black pepper, Check

 

          Paprika

 

Now the last one was a challenge, I had to dig to the back of Lizzies spice cabinet for this one. But at last I saw a red and white tin container with the magical word, “Paprika”. Check

 

I began the laborious process of boiling and preparing the eggs. When I began to peel the egg shells I realized the hot eggs were burning the hell out of my fingers so I thought; ok this sucks, I think I’ll cool them in cool water before peeling the shells off.

 

Word to the wise here; bad idea, although I could no longer smell flesh burning off my fingers, (emphasis added) the cool shells refused to be peeled without taking half the eggs white with the shell. It was as if Gorilla Glue had been added between the egg shell and whites. Lucky for me I had only cooled a few so I went back to the hot eggs which to my relief had cooled significantly but were still warm enough to allow the shell to peel. The moral to this story is allow the eggs to cool slightly but not to a cold temperature and shell will peel right off and you will still have feeling in finger tips following the process.

 

Next I assembled the ingredients and egg yoke as directed on the instructions. This is where I ran head long into a roadblock. How in the world do I get the magical devil mixture back into the egg whites? I even mimicked scooping the mixture and simulated placing it in the whites. I just couldn’t see doing this without tearing the whites to shreds. There were no clues in the instructions and I stood there confused. It was about this time my Daughter Lindsey, who had decided to spend the night before Easter at home with her ole man, apparently saw the confusion building on my face and suggested why don’t you put it into a plastic baggy, cut off the corner then squirt the mixture back into the white. Absolutely brilliant and worked like a charm. Needless to say my appreciation for Lindsey’s mastery of problem solving was increased significantly.

 

Last step, “sprinkle Paprika on the eggs for added color as needed.” I obtained the little red and white container, I opened the lid and carefully inverted the can over the eggs while tapping lightly on the can with my finger. Tap, tap tap… nothing. Invert further; Tap, tap tap… nothing. Finally fully inverted and nothing coming out. I looked inside only to find the container completely empty. Lindsey at this point said something like: oh yeah, its empty. Mom collected these just for the containers. She thought those little tin cans were pretty neat.

 

Neat or not damn it; I don’t have a critical ingredient called for by the assemble instructions, this is a major derail. Now I am definitively type A personality but have never considered myself being OCD. Still I couldn’t get around the instructions calling for Paprika to complete the process and I didn’t have any… I just had to stop and get some at the store while on the way to the gathering.

 

 Once there, I realized I had left the spice in the bag I had previously left at my daughter’s house with the green salad. I asked my sister do you have Paprika? As luck would have it she was out as well. You know I think now I may have a little OCD. Yes you guessed it, I drove back to my daughters to get the Paprika to finish my little devil treasures. Upon returning, I placed the finely ground devils spice on the new created Devil Eggs. Oh all was right in the world, the eggs looked simply wonderful and were well received.

 

After consuming most of my culinary creations the remaining guests arrived including my niece and her family. Wouldn’t you know, I wasn’t the only one craving Devil Eggs. My niece and her husband converged in my sister’s kitchen with the fixing for their own Devil Eggs and began to follow the assemble instructions I knew too well. I even casually suggested off the cuff, “you’ll want to peel those shells while the eggs are still warm”; just trying to be helpful.

 

Like a convergence of fate that just had to be, Justin walked to the door near where I was sitting and asked more toward my sister, do you have any Paprika? I looked at him as casually as possible and said; “funny you should ask”, while pulling the bottle of Paprika from my hoody pocket and handing it to him I said, “But of Course.” He just looked at me for a second with a confused look on his face clearly thinking of what kind of goofy bugger walks around with a bottle of Paprika in his pocket?

 

Well now you know; definitely type A with a touch of OCD. All I need now is a Rolls Royce to go with it!!!

 

But of Course…

 

A Cat’s Tale

I’m of the opinion that revenge is best served cold or in other words after a respectable amount of time as passed. Many of you will remember my late wife’s cat Teeny Tiny. Yes, she is the one who swiped my freshly cooked chicken breast dinner from the counter a while back before I could put it away. Well today I was able to get mine with that little black beast.

Kevin and I had gone into town to run some errands which included picking up the mail and stopping at the Chevron for a Coke and little buddy treat (Beef Jerky). Teeny Tiny usually spends her days inside the home and rarely does she spend much time outside. However, today was a particularly beautiful and warm day. She had followed me outside and had refused to come back prior to my leaving.

After running the errands we drove home enjoying the sun and spring like conditions while sipping on the Coke. As I pulled in the driveway I thought; I’ll just sit here in the sun and read the mail before getting out of the car.

After about five minutes I saw movement on the front of the car and looked up from the mail; Teeny Tiny had jumped up onto the hood of the car. She pranced across the hood in her best Royalty apparent stroll. She was looking around from side to side clearly trying to figure out where I had gone. She seemed quite irritated I hadn’t gone directly to the door to let her inside the house again immediately when arriving home. With a smile spreading across my face, I reached up slowly and let blast with the car horn. The cat caught totally by surprise, her eyes bulging, she sprang high into the air, her claws extended and legs churning attempting to gain footing in mid-air. You know it is amazing how high a cat can jump when properly motivated. Apparently, in the excitement she had forgotten the car was parked and she was not about to be pulverized by the fast moving Neon she now envisioned was coming straight for her at the speed of sound. After what seemed like minutes aloft, gravity again forced its will on the cat and she lightly touched down only to gain the badly sought after traction she so desired. In an instant she had sprang from the car hood and ducked under the trailer.  

After another few minutes had passed, still in a full belly laugh, and cheeks wet with laughter tears, I exited the car. Triumphant with my revenge, I stroll into the house with my own swagger clearly apparent. “Revenge, oh sweet revenge…” Seems now a freshly cooked chicken breast was a small price to pay for such entertainment.

Part two; and “The Ride”

On one particular night following I was again out for a ride. I seriously thought about stopping by my friend’s home to see if he wanted to go for one of our rides. For some unknown reason I decided against it alone time was needed. I headed out, just me, Lizzie the bike and the road to wherever I wanted. That night, I stopped on the road edge in a beautiful area kicked her into neutral and shut down.

 

There I watched Buffalo grazing in a grass covered field.
I saw ground Squirrels scampering around eating blue bell flowers.
I listened to a young Coyote pack yip and howl in the distance of a nearby isolated canyon.

 

Yes, solitude and the moment was just what was needed to sort things out for myself once again. Truly our adventures are found in the journey, not the destination. I’m coming to understand that in so many ways these days. The next day I saw my friend and told him I had nearly stopped by to collect him the night before. I was going to tell him of the Coyotes, Squirrels and Buffalo. But it was then that I noticed the sparkle was gone. My first thought was; oh no, you wrecked it? No, he said then he related the following tale.

 

On the very afternoon I had taken my solo ride, he too had ridden his Texas bike to work, he was told that the water was out at their home, so my friend came home and parked his bike in the driveway. Being a maintenance man by trade he went straight to work locating the cause of the lack of water. He soon found that a valve had been turned off in the back yard. But while he searched for the cause, his bride had a pressing appointment and she was needing to leave right away. She hopped into her car parked in the garage and backed out of the garage and straight over the top of the Texas Bike. “Yikes”, I thought!!!

,

My heart sank as he told the tale. After which I asked; how bad did it get hurt? With as much courage as he could muster he described the damage; scraped pipes, bent handlebars and damaged grips. Following his description; all in all I thought; that’s not bad! I said,” no worries my friend you can have that fixed in a jiffy and while you are at it, why don’t you have the shop adjust your clutch for better friction zone and front brakes for better balance control. Let me know when you get it back and we’ll take that ride.”

 
I felt a twinge of real sorrow for his little bride, the one who gave her best friend  the most awesome gift and then to have also accidentally and temporarily taken it back. Her pain was evident by the blood shot eyes from obvious tears she had shed at the thought of damaging her best friend’s prize gift. Despite this small set back, my friend was back on track, he had a repair plan and without doubt would have that bike in top shape in short order.

 
Last weekend after several weeks of hearing of the repair progress, my friend and I took our first of what I hope to be many rides on our motors. We rode out into the Uintah Basin over Wolf Creek Pass to a little known hamburger joint for lunch. When I arrived at their home, it was nice to see the smile on his brides face at knowing her best friend was about to start a new adventure that she had intended for him some months before.

 
Now we all should know and recognize that the destination and lunch we planned that day were simply the excuse. The real purpose was the adventure and the ride. I lead out because I had been in the area many times before and had a pretty good idea where this tucked away hamburger place was to be found. In fact another friend of mine had told me of it and gave great directions to find it. As I lead I could see him in the rear view mirrors cruising along behind holding distance and line off set to the right side just where he should be. We blew past the normal restaurants along the route that most bike rider’s use off US 40 and back over Wolfe Creek Pass. We continued through small towns, seeing the beautiful farm houses, large expanses of alfalfa with pivot wheel sprinklers running, rugged landscapes of large solid boulders on the road side that were bigger than most cars and passing only the occasional resident or farm implement. The two lane road seemed to stretch forever out into the Uintah Basin and secretly I was hoping that it would.
As we rode my senses, well they came very much alive. Those of feel, of smell, of sight, the sound and something else located deep inside. Truly, the adventure is found in the journey!

A change in temperature as we climbed higher, rode through the mountain pass and descend the other side.
A smell on the wind, of water being sprayed on welcoming crops within a parched dry land.
Of freshly cut alfalfa still drying down in the field.
A mountain meadow covered in wild flower and the damp aroma of cattail growing beside.
Pine trees mixing with Aspen in the cool summer air.

 

 

I stopped only once at an intersection where my friend pulled up alongside to my right. I looked at him and saw a face with a huge smile, a grand sparkle in his eyes, a man full of near contentment. I say near contentment because I know that for him it could be one step closer to perfect if only his bride had been snuggled up behind and along for the ride.

He said; “Wow, this is beautiful country out here!” I replied; “yes it’s rugged and rough, but beautiful in its very own way.” This is the America I’d like to remember in my mind’s eye as I continue to grow older. Now please take notice as I have done, my memory is one from the seat of a motor, her pipes sounding off while rolling on power across our beautiful land!!!

The Gift and The Ride, a two part series. “The Gift”

A few weeks ago some friends invited me to their home for dinner. Being an unwilling Bachelor of late, I eagerly accepted a home cooked meal not of my own making. As I thought about driving to their home I decided I would ride my motor. How could it get much better than a home cooked meal with good friends coupled with a ride? My friend had been admiring my bike all spring and telling me stories of a motor he would like to buy from a friend of his in Texas. I thought to myself, well I can give him another peek at her and who knows he may actually buy one. Now I say he would like to buy his friends motor in Texas because his lovely bride was set against the idea. How can a desire for a motor argue with statements like; “I love you and I don’t want you to get hurt or to lose you.” She had a definitive advantage. Still, my friend is a determined man and he persisted with a deep desire only recognized by those of us who ride.

So on the day in question I thought what the heck, Lizzie was shined up and it was a beautiful evening. I rode to their home, pulled into their drive and my friend came out to admire Lizzie. In his I eyes a saw desire, raw desire, his breath quickened and again he told me of the Texas bike of his dreams. Following this he said; “Hey I have an idea, pull your bike into the garage I want to check something out.” I did as he said parking as directed and while the roar of the Harley’s pipes rumbled in his garage, I must say it was, “just so cool!” I parked and shut Lizzie down. At this his bride came out and was promptly told by my friend; “See, there is plenty of room in the garage.” I could only imagine the previous conversation they had and reasoning of the garage space that had occurred earlier. His bride responded with a shake of the head toward my friend an accusing statement, “Jim, you are a bad influence.” To this what could I say but; Yes Ma’am, yes I am! With a wink and a smile both of us knowing it to be true…

The dinner and conversation was most excellent and I enjoyed the evening immensely. Nice to have some interaction since I spend most of my time on my own these days and wow what a meal. Roasted pineapple ham, I wonder where they got a ham like that anyway? Following the evening’s meal I bid my friends fare well and climbed aboard Lizzie, I eased her out onto the highway throttled up and off we went to wherever my heart desired.

Weeks followed and I had occasional contact with my friends. Every time I heard of the Texas bike and of one day we would ride together. Then out of the blue I received a text message from my friend’s bride. She told of a birthday surprise for her good man. She had bought him none other than the Texas Bike for his birthday which was coming up in the next weeks. The bike was delivering today and she asked if she could store it in my garage until his birthday. Amazed that she had actually bought it for him I agreed; but I could not resist telling her that she has a serious poker face and if she decides to head down to Vegas, I’m going with!!!

I arrived home from work that day to see a beautiful silver Suzuki road bike parked in the garage. I took extra care to keep the garage door on that side closed as my friend drives past my home on his way to and from work. A few days later I received another text from her, this one was a picture of my friend holding the title to his new bike and the absolute look of elation on his face. I have not seen a larger smile nor eyes of sparkle with that level of excitement for a long time. I asked her what was up with the spoiler on the surprise. She advised she had no choice, my friend was aware that his Texas friend with the bike was coming to Utah and although his Texas friend had been in on the surprise the whole time and had played his hand well, my friend obsessed with that bike had withdrawn from the bank the money to buy it and would not stop texting and calling his Texas friend about it. Finally, she had relented and gave him the title to calm him but the bike was strictly off limits until his birthday.

From here until the day of his birth celebration my friend became a creeper of sorts. He would stalk around his many friends and family member’s homes peaking in their garage and odd shed, anywhere the bike might have been hidden. He made odd statements like, “you got any new vehicles hidden in there?” Still, to my amazement he never thought of me and the extra room in my garage and the bike remained safely hidden.

The evening before the day of his birth, his bride and I developed and sinister plot. I would deliver the bike to their home, park it in the driveway and place a number of bright decorations on it while they out for dinner. When they arrived home his surprise would be waiting. I did as instructed and the trick went off without a hitch. For days following he couldn’t understand how she had pulled off such a perfect gift and surprise. I have to admit I was so happy for him, he had his bike and what is better is it was a gift from a special lady he calls his bride.

For days following I would see him drive past my home on his motor with a huge smile to go with it. He stopped by my house one night and we admired his bike and talked of the rides we should soon take. I tell you there wasn’t a speck of dust on that bike and it was polished to a fine shine. What a proud owner.

I could not help but smile and nod my head as I watched him ride away that night west bound into the setting sun. I thought; “Good for you my Friend.”

Stay tuned for part two, “The Ride”.

Live Now

What is it about the feel of the wind, the open road, the constant hum of raw power and the comfort that comes from being on a motor and completely alone? Except, I must say for the presence of loved ones now gone, but always felt traveling ever so near.

The healing effect on a crushed, diminished, and tormented soul. A return of awareness and of agency that comes with self-control. The flowering bud of a feeling deep inside of survival. Of having been tested beyond prior comprehension and living-still to experience yet another wonderful day. Only now so much stronger and wiser for sure. Oh the lesson of experience etched on the face is ever so clear. It is the path of so many who have traveled here before.

With the changing of season, spring has arrived and the feel of summer grows strong on the mind. The warmth on the back with sunshine on leather isn’t easily described. But its feel is like that of a long loving hug from an Angel, who’s riding behind. With that warm of sunshine, new life, it springs forth. From the bright green of young grass, brilliant blue of a cloud speckled sky and of newborns who follow their mothers so closely behind.
Oh yes, a sanctuary it is that I have found; a rest, a release, a redemption, and recovery for sure. To ride, to watch, to feel, to experience it all simply because I’m out here, right now!

Today, I know not what tomorrow will bring, but I have new understanding of the importance of things. Having endured; no survived, the sting of a crippling test, a lesson I bring to those who would listen.

For now is just that and I tell you, it’s real. Tomorrow is possible, but with no guarantee. Live now my good friends as can clearly be seen, there will never be another now exactly like the one you’re in now. Oh for sure, there’s a seemingly endless supply of now in tomorrow. But in tomorrow’s now there isn’t another like the one that’s right now! Like tomorrow itself, those now’s of tomorrow have no guarantee. With that understanding experience the now. And when you look back on the now of today you can say to those with you; do you remember that day? And then you can smile remembering well the experience of yesterday’s now. So true but contingent you see, on living the fullness of the time we call now!

Live now, ride now, go now, love now, hug her now, smile now, laugh now, play now, enjoy right now!!! And as you move forward with a gift of another right now.

Count yourself fortunate waste not I do say; “Live and Ride” the experience of right now!!!