What a difference between traveling in a car vs. riding a motorcycle! Ralph and I just returned from a trip to California following the death of our brother-in-law. We lacked funds for a short-notice plane ride (and qualifying for “bereavement” fares is a pain in the butt!), so we drove the interstates. No time for backroads, although I have to say I-70 is the most scenic interstate I’ve been on, with lots of twists and curves through the Colorado Rockies.
We came back through Arizona and New Mexico to avoid the snow storms in the Dakotas. I enjoyed seeing the Southwest again: the red-striped rock formations, the blazingly-blue skies, the ruins of old Rte. 66 in the background. We got to eat Navajo food again (I love fry bread, but watch out for the cactus pads–they have a laxative effect!). But I missed feeling the sun and the wind and smelling the fresh piney air around Flagstaff.
By the time we hit the drizzle that accompanied us from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Minneapolis, I was thankful for the heater in the car.
Now, it’s back to work and back to promoting Ride Minnesota. I’ll be at the Rain Taxi Twin Cities Book Fesitval this Saturday at the State Fair grounds. It’s in the Progress Center, and it runs from 10:00 until 5:00. Excuse me while I go check my supply of books!
Is there anything heavier than a toppled bike? A few years ago, Ralph and I took a trip down US 169 to old Rte. 66 and the Grand Canyon. We stopped for a traffic light in Altoona, Iowa. The bungee cord that held most of our earthly belongings for the trip broke, and the Victory went down. I scrambled to get off as Ralph struggled to keep the motorcycle away from the pavement. The guy in the car behind us got out and helped us push.
Last summer, while working on Ride Minnesota, the bike toppled again. We were in Aitkin, making a left turn from a side street near the American Legion to the main drag. As we started the turn, a local yokel in a pickup truck bounded through the intersection. It was stop or be killed, so we stopped. The motorcycle began its slow descent toward the ground. I hopped off and started pushing. Fortunately, another driver stopped and came to our aid.
Speaking of pushing, I got a call yesterday from Bill, the sales manager at Motoprimo in Lakeville. He wants to talk about book signings and sales. Says he’s “fascinated” by the book. That’s one salesman who has my ear!
Downtown Aitkin, approaching the only stoplight in Aitkin County!
When I first began riding behind Ralph, I clung to him for dear life. It made me nauseous to look down and to the side and see my shadow racing alongside me at 65 mph. I noticed passengers on other motorcycles were more relaxed. Some held onto the bars on the seat rest. Others simply sat with their hands in their laps.
After a trip to the Grand Canyon via Rte. 66, I can look at my shadow now. And more often than not, I ride with a small digital camera in one hand. I still reach for Ralph when we hit a bump, but most of the time it’s “Look, Ma, no hands!” You have to have a certain amount of fatalism to sit on the back. If I leave the bike, I leave it. I’d rather be flung from it, I think, than trapped beneath it.
Since I’m not distracted by having to keep the bike safely on the road, I have plenty of time to think, plan and pray (not out of fear, mind you, mostly I tell God thanks for the beautiful day). I planned Ride Minnesota on the back of our Victory. That’s where the book took shape. On the back of a motorcycle, in Minnesota.